September is Kinship Care Month!

September is Kinship Care Month!

Constance Iannetta of the FCAA National Board & Pennsylvania Chapter shares her kinship story in the September-October issue of Fostering Families Today.

Cover for September-October FFT Magazine.

“Simply put, I was terrified. Aside from the usual frazzled excitement that comes with being a new parent, I was afraid to fail because of my own prior system involvement as a youth.

Wanting to be something for a child that I had never experienced was scary, but I knew that we could do it with the right support.

As soon as I shared the news about the opportunity to provide kinship care within my network, the response from my fellow alumni was immediate and incredible. Words of encouragement flooded my phone and mailbox and they kept coming long after our little guy arrived.

A year later, Brian and I received another placement call to take the newborn sibling of our kinship child. Care packages started arriving on our doorstep sent from my alumni family throughout the country — boppies and anti-colic bottles, weighted blankets and teeny preemie clothes.

On social media there is an enormous alumni presence — private pages for former foster youth and alumni, pages for allies and supporters of child welfare, and groups for foster and kinship parents. In each of these groups the presence of former foster youth is constant — chiming in on every topic from how to decorate a room for a foster child to psychotropic meds and birth family connection.

It has been my experience that the knowledge and emotional support shared throughout this community, even virtually, is special due to our shared experiences within “the system.” You can find information and parenting trainings nearly anywhere, but the most impactful empathy and experiential guidance during the sensitive process of becoming kinship parents was found in the hearts and minds of alumni with lived experience.

Something that I have found interesting — both in my full-time role at a child welfare agency working with prospective resource parents and as an active participant in many of these groups — is that many alumni become foster and adoptive parents.” – Constance.

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