Philadelphia – Oct. 9, 2015 – State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams (D-Philadelphia/Delaware) in concert with the Philadelphia Kinship Care Committee, Turning Points for Children and the Philadelphia Department of Human Services (DHS) recently hosted a successful conference that focused on helping grandparents and other relatives lead a more balanced life as they care for young children.
“This conference was hugely successful,” Williams said. “Despite the weather, more than 150 adult caregivers and 50 children attended this event and learned about balancing responsibilities in an ever-changing world.
“The location was ideal with comfortable space for workshops in the auditorium, child care in the auxiliary gym, breakfast and lunch in the cafeteria, and plenty of hall space for the dozens of resource table participants to share much needed information with the caregivers.”
The 3rd biennial “Helping Hands Kinship Care Conference 2015” was held on Oct. 3 at West Philadelphia High School.
The conference included a presentation by DHS Deputy Commissioner Gary Williams about the new Community Umbrella Agencies (CUAs) and how they will better serve the community and the needs of vulnerable children. Also, the conference included workshops on custody and family law, and kinship care family dynamics and behavioral health.
“We have more issues to address now more than ever,” Williams said. “One in five children are being raised by grandparents.
“In the Philadelphia area alone, there are over 80,000 children being raised by family members, other than their biological parents.”
Williams said that the conference provided grandparents and other relatives with the help they need, new perspectives and insight into issues that they confront in everyday life as well as direction on where they can find the resources to be effective primary caregivers.
The senator said that it was important to provide up-to-date material to grandparents so that they can incorporate information in their interactions with the children they are raising.
He said that the Kinship Care Local Resource Guide, offered through Williams’ office, includes useful material. The Kinship Local Resource Guide was developed by his office and the committee five years ago and is updated biennially with the most current edition new as of this month. It was made available to all conference attendees.
The Guide provides resource information on a wide range of topics, from Children and Family Resources, Clothing & Food, CUAs, Finances, Medical, Legal, to Support Groups and Teen Resources, Williams said. It can be obtained from any of the committee members, or from Williams’ office or website.
The lunchtime keynote presentation at the conference was delivered by state Rep. Rosita Youngblood (D-Philadelphia), who shared her powerful personal story about being a kinship caregiver twice over.
Williams said that he was pleased and thankful for the work of the kinship care committee members, who in addition to Williams’ office, make these events happen. The committee includes Grand Central Inc, Grands as Parents, NET Community Care, Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, SeniorLAW Center, Support Center for Child Advocates, Supportive Older Women’s Network, Temple Intergenerational Center, and Turning Points for Children.
The Conference was sponsored by Turning Points for Children, DHS, Health Partners Foundation, Public Health Management Corporatization, Cigna HealthSpring, NorthEast Treatment Center, Health Partners Plans, AmeriHealth Caritas, PA Corporation for Aging, Uptown Entertainment Development Corporation, Sumo Steaks, and the Supportive Older Women’s Network.