Our mission is to champion the successful permanency of each child who comes to our door. We understand that each individuals unique history, culture and needs must be considered as they journey to stable, healthy homes.

Kinship House welcomes…Marcella Chiromo!

Kinship House is pleased to announce that Marcella Chiromo has joined our board of directors.

Marcella moved to the United States from Zimbabwe in her youth and is the Student Advocate facilitating group and other therapeutic support for youth at Portland Youthbuilders.  She is also a trained mental health therapist with a doctorate in International Psychology.

“Kinship House welcomes Marcella to our agency,” said executive director, Natalie Wood. “Her varied roles with youth and work in the mental health field will support our efforts in caring for foster and adopted children. We are thrilled to have her on our board!”

Kinship House was founded in 1996 and provides outpatient mental health services to children and their families. We specialize in championing children and families with target interventions during all stages of foster care, reunification, and adoption.  In over twenty years of providing mental health services, we have served thousands of local children on their journey to the care only a permanent and healthy family can provide. With almost 3,000 children in foster care annually in Multnomah County alone, our services ensure that children and family have the support they need to navigate

 

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Interview: Donald Sheets, Foster Parent Support Coordinator at 211 Info

We recently had the opportunity to interview Don Sheets, who began working at 211 Info as the foster parent support coordinator earlier this year.  The 211Info Foster Parent Support Line is open 24/7 as a source of support for Oregon DHS foster parents.  Don very generously agreed to answer a few questions about what the support line provides and the relationship between 211 Info and DHS caseworkers.

What do you think of as common situations encountered via the support line, and/or perhaps the most frequent topic of
concern prompting foster parents to call the support line and receive support?

Since my time at 211Info as the Foster Care Coordinator there are three themes that
are fairly consistent:

One is the need for daycare/childcare. Foster parents are looking for resources
near where they live geographically or where may work. Often, we are able to direct
them to resources meeting their needs. There is of course the challenges of finding
affordable care. Hopefully, the new DHS Child Welfare stipend for childcare helps offset
some of the costs.

The second is for respite providers. This is more of a challenge. Primarily, DHS
Child Welfare puts the responsibility on the foster parent to develop respite resources.
We are able to recommend some childcare resources. We recommend to the foster
parent to contact the certifier or the DHS caseworker. Multnomah County has a respite
line, but their resources are limited.

The third is for help with a child/youth who may be experiencing a challenging
behavioral and/or mental health event. We also help when a foster child/youth is
reported as a runaway. My observation is the individual answering for 211Info will listen
to the caller allowing the caller to express their needs and often, their frustration. Once
the caller has expressed their concerns, 211Info will inform the caller of resources.
Often, the call requires, what we describe as a warm hand-off, to the appropriate DHS
on-call staff. In addition, if it is determined it needs to be reported to the Child Abuse
Hotline, we will warm transfer directly to the hotline.

Is there any sort of follow-up by the staff when someone
makes contact with the support line? Do you have the ability to provide consistent check-ins to families who are interested?

Normally, once the call is transferred to DHS or the resource(s) is provided, we
would not do a follow-up. We do encourage the caller to call again if .more information
is needed. An exception to this is if the nature of the call would indicate follow-up may
be warranted. For example, we received a call from a relative of a an adult youth who is involved in the Washington Child Welfare System and has moved to Oregon. I will be
following up with this caller to see if they were able to find resources.

It sounds like parents are welcome to call and ask for help with
contacting caseworkers and better understanding parent roles and
responsibilities as determined by the DHS. Do you report communications you receive from parents to DHS/their specific caseworker(s)?

211Info has an excellent relationship/partnership with DHS. Often, DHS
Caseworkers will refer their providers to 211Info for resources. We are always
developing resources that can be provided to the caller to give further insight to their
roles as a foster parent. We also are able to provide information to foster children/youth
if or when they call 211Info. We often ask the caller if they would like for us to call the
case worker. Often, they will accept this offer. We gather information and provide at the
state level the types of calls we receive and our responses. Of course, if we believe it
needs to be reported to the DHS Child Abuse Hotline, as mandatory reporters, we will
make this call. For every call, we fill out a form that gets sent to local district contacts
with information about the caller and what the call was about.

Thank you once again to Donald Sheets!

How to reach a foster parent support specialist:
Dial 211 and listen for the parenting option
Email foster@211info.org
Text the keyword foster to 898211

 

 

 

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Volunteer Spotlight: Elizabeth Maxon

Kinship House is blessed with the incredible volunteer support of community ranging from monthly clean-up of our facility to helping out at our events to providing much-need administrative support.

Elizabeth Maxon is one of the amazing community members who supports our front desk staff during her time as a volunteer at Kinship House:

  • How did you hear about Kinship House?

    I first heard about Kinship House on Facebook — I don’t exactly recall the path I took to get there, but I’ve always been interested in foster care, and gave the page a “like” right away. Within the next couple of days, a childhood friend of mine sent me a message and asked how I knew about Kinship — it turns out she had been working there for years without me even knowing! A couple of months later, I was walking around my neighborhood and realized that the agency is literally across the street from my house. All this time! Ever since beginning as a volunteer, it has just felt meant to be.

  • What motivated you to start volunteering with us?

    I have been working with children since I myself was a young child. During my undergrad at Reed College, I continued with childcare and volunteering while studying psychology, with a strong focus on early childhood development. I then spent several years teaching preschool, all the while developing my educational philosophy and personal goals for my work and life with children. I am deeply interested in one day becoming a foster and/or adoptive parent, and I continue to contemplate a career as a therapist with children someday.

  • What kind of volunteer assignments have you worked on at Kinship House?

    I enjoy helping out with all sorts of things at Kinship! I have helped with basic tasks like cleaning, filing, and packing snack bags, as well as more development-oriented work, like creating content for the blog and helping with various other projects as they come up. I am happy in any role, as long as I know I’m making a difference for the wonderful people of Kinship. I admire their work deeply!

  • What is a favorite childhood memory?

    It’s hard to pick! The first one that popped into my head is when I was driving with my whole family (parents and two siblings), when my parents pulled over and said they needed to run in to a restaurant to use the bathroom. They said, “why don’t you all just get out, we don’t want to leave you in the car!” We piled out of the car and instead of heading toward the restaurant, they led us in the direction of the movie theater right next door. We got to see Mulan on opening day, and that felt like the coolest surprise in the world!

  • What is your favorite thing to do in Oregon?

    The beach! I could walk along the beach forever. It truly feels cleansing. I am determined to learn how to surf someday. Anything to get me even closer to the ocean.

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The Collins Foundation

Kinship House thanks The Collins Foundation for their ongoing investment in our programs. 

Our agency has been providing expert mental health services to foster and adopted children for over 22 years.  We offer outpatient care to children ranging in age from one to 20 years of age.  Using an assortment of therapeutic care – play, talk, movement, sand tray, and art – we have used a proven approach that has led to successful outcomes for the children we care for at our agency.

We have identified an urgent need to focus on early intervention for children under the age of five.  Child/Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) is an evidence-based specialized treatment for children between the ages of 0 – 5 who have been exposed to trauma.  Many of Oregon’s foster children have been subjected to heartbreaking life experiences, that if left untreated, will likely lead to challenging later-in-life experiences.

CPP treatment digs deep into how the trauma and the parent’s history with the child impacts the relationship and its effect on the child’s development. The ultimate goal is to provide support and strengthen that relationship as a vehicle for restoring and protecting the child’s mental health.  Treatment also focuses on contextual factors that may affect the caregiver-child relationship (e.g., culture and socioeconomic and immigration related stressors).  The treatment is a collaboration between the therapist, the parent(s), and the child that leads to the successful outcome of strong mental health.

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Pen a Friend

Pen A Friend, Inc. provides a free service of setting up pen pal friendships for youth in in foster care. At Pen A Friend, Inc., they understand that the circumstances of foster care can sometimes be difficult on a child. They believe that sharing our experiences with someone and building long lasting friendships is one of life’s greatest gifts. They are committed to establishing such friendships for each and every foster child. Pen A Friend, Inc. is dedicated to transforming the lives of foster children one friendship at a time.

Learn more here!

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Employment Opportunities

Kinship House is currently seeking to fill this positions with our main location:

Kinship House is a regional non-profit outpatient mental health provider addressing the mental health needs of the most vulnerable children in our local child welfare system, assisting successful transitions to permanency.

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Community Partner: Portland Playhouse

** Important Update:  We were originally scheduled to be at the January 18 performance but we are rescheduling our visit – stay tuned! **

Kinship House is thrilled to partner with Portland Playhouse, a local theater that is dedicated to producing quality, intimate, performances in which the interaction between artists and audience is paramount. They hold theater to be a space in which all people can come together to celebrate the complexity of our shared human experience.

Kinship House will be present at the performance of NO CANDY.  The production spotlights a multi-generational community of Bosnian Muslim women who survived the Srebrenica genocide and, years later, open a gift shop for tourists who visit the Srebrenica memorial. While No Candy is very much about how trauma inhabits the body and shapes a community, it is also about the persistence of humor, art, and absurdity in an unimaginable time.

The play will run between January 16 through February 10. Learn more here.

If you wish to partner with Kinship House, please call 503-460-2796, ext. 205 to learn more about how we can do more, together!

 

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Partner Spotlight: FedX Ground

Kinship House thrives on the engagement of community in our care of foster and adopted youth.  Individuals and businesses are core to our overall efforts in providing resources of support to our expert staff of mental healthcare providers and administrative staff.

In 2017, FedX Ground came in to do a group clean up of our facilities.  The following year, Ratha and her colleagues returned and volunteered at our annual Our Kin Mini Golf event, signed up for another group volunteering shift.  The company also served as a sponsor of our putt-putt golf event, as well as, our annual auction.

We are so thankful for both the individual and collective contribution made by FedX Ground – thank you!

If your company is interested in establishing a partnership with Kinship House, please call Dennise at 503-460-2796, ext. 205 or send an email to dennise.k@kinshiphouse.org.

Kinship House was started in 1996 as an outpatient mental healthcare provider for foster and adopted children in the Portland area.  We champion the successful permanency of each child we care for as we strive to understand their unique stories and needs as they journey to a forever home. Stay in the know by subscribing to our monthly e-newsletter!

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Save the Dates – 2019

As we enter 2019, we are excited to share with you dates for upcoming events hosted by Kinship House!

Click on the links for all the details!  In the meantime, January 18 is Winnie the Pooh Day!

Kinship House was started in 1996 as an outpatient mental healthcare provider for foster and adopted children in the Portland area.  We champion the successful permanency of each child we care for as we strive to understand their unique stories and needs as they journey to a forever home. Stay in the know by subscribing to our monthly e-newsletter!

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Be a Kinship House Hero: Host an event!

Every year, thousands of Portland-area children transition through foster care and adoption services. The process of fitting into a new home is emotionally straining on kids, who have a limited support network, and have endured physical or mental abuse, neglect, or trauma. Without the support and outlet that therapy provides, many of these children find it difficult to move out of social services and establish healthy relationships.  Medical billing only covers a portion of the care we provide foster and adopted children.  To fill that ‘funding gap’, we look to fundraising activities.

If you want to be a Kinship House Hero, host a third party event!

A third party event is an event or promotion that will benefit Kinship House. It is sponsored and coordinated by a person or organization who is a supporter of our efforts of helping foster children find their forever home as we provide them with life changing, outpatient mental health care.

Ideas include:

  • Hosting a dinner party at participating restaurants so Kinship House can receive a percentage of proceeds.
  • Asking your favorite place to eat or enjoy libations to host a Kinship House Night so our agency will receive proceeds and raise awareness about our expert care.
  • Hosting a drive for designated items that Kinship House would like to use in our therapy sessions or items we can share with the kiddos we serve.
  • Coordinate a garage sale with your neighbors and friends and donate proceeds to Kinship House.
  • Set up a Facebook birthday fundraising campaign and share out with all of your friends to donate to Kinship House in honor of your big day.
  • Ask your company to include a blurb about Kinship House and how to get involved in the organization’s e-newsletter.
  • Check in with your employer to see if they host a company engagement program for staff to volunteer at non-profits and if they offer a grant and/or sponsorship program. Also check in with your human resources contact to see if your company will match any donations you make!
  • Are you a traveler?  Ask your agent or other provider to donate a trip, frequent flyer miles and/or accommodations for our annual auction.
  • Ask your favorite store, gym, restaurant, or coffee shop if they will put a donation jar at the register for Kinship House for 30 days.
  • Ask your favorite yoga, dance studio, salon or local movie theater to host a ‘pay what you can’ session with proceeds to benefit Kinship House.
  • Your own idea – let us know!

This kind of community support raises awareness of what we do in the community and brings in new supporters non only in the broader community, but through your own circles of neighbors, friends and on social media.

In order to ensure that all rules and the likes are being followed, the following things need to be done:

1.      Contact Kinship House to review your idea with staff as all events must be approved prior to holding the event:  503.460.2796, ext. 205 or email dennise.k@kinshiphouse.org.

2.      Once we have a green light, we can help share out your plan on our social media and give you our logo to use. We may also be able to have a staff member attend the event.

Kinship House was started in 1996 as an outpatient mental healthcare provider for foster and adopted children in the Portland area.  We champion the successful permanency of each child we care for as we strive to understand their unique stories and needs as they journey to a forever home. Stay in the know by subscribing to our monthly e-newsletter!

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