What's New!   
 

News, Notes, and Current Items of Interest From KinKonnect

 

Our "What's New" Page is a great place to find out about kinship related news.
Please check in on our What's New Page often, as it will be continually updated.

For previous "What's New!" please click here 2008, 2009

To jump to a specific entry, simply click on one of the links below:

 

09/15/2016


04/08/2015
April is Autism Awareness Month


03/31/2015
What I Learned From The Grief Of My Grandma


03/31/2015
Make Travel Fun With Your Grandchild With Autism


03/31/2015
What’s So Special About Being A Grandparent?


03/31/2015
A Magical Experience With Your Grandkids: Cheap Too


03/12/2015
NJ 2-1-1 Partnership Announces Hire of Joseph M. Geleta as New Executive Director


12/11/2014
New Jersey Parents Caucus Family-Driven Data Brief: Psychotropic Medication Use Among NJ Children & Youth


10/22/2014
Social Security Changes


10/14/2014
PL 113-183, Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act, Includes Provisions that Help Kinship, Foster, and Adoptive Families


10/09/2014
Military Family Specialist


10/02/2014
Federal, State, and Local Spending to Address Child Abuse and Neglect in SFY 2012


09/12/2014
10 Parent/Teacher Tips for Helping with Back to School


09/02/2014
NJ Family and Youth Leadership Academy Nominations are OPEN!!


08/07/2014
American Indian/ Alaska Native Kinship Care: Models of Support


04/11/2014
Helping With Your Grandchild’s College Tuition


11/16/2013
NFPA/FSFAPA National Conference

10/30/2013
Social Security Announces 1.5 Percent Benefit Increase for 2014


07/22/2013
Five Risks Facing Young Children in Our Military Families


07/17/2013
CA: Grandparents raising grandchildren often lack financial support they need


07/01/2013
Booming | Retirees adopt children to make a difference


04/23/2013
ECNJ E-news


04/01/2013
April Is National Child Abuse Prevention Month


03/25/2013
NET CETERA Chatting with Kids About Being Online


02/27/2013
Time to Keep the Promise of Preschool


 02/27/2013
NJ Leads Nation in Dramatic Drop in Juvenile Incarceration


02/14/2013
Teen Dating Violence Awareness

06/272012
Help for difficult Financial Times


06/13/2012
Making Kinship Placements Work for Kids and Families


09/15/2016
Kinship Care, An Alternative To Foster Care

https://youtu.be/QPCqj4ipKP8

04/08/2015
April is Autism Awareness Month


http://files.ctctcdn.com/8d5236e9001/e82a551d-aaf8-4382-b82f-5b30cad0c36f.png

03/31/2015
What I Learned From The Grief Of My Grandma


Compared to Pittsburgh, which Mom called “back home,” the Sonoran Desert’s green-limbed Palo Verde trees looked crooked, the graceful Ocotillos spindly, and the sprawling prickly pears squat.”
As soon as Grandma emerged through the gate from her flight from Pittsburgh, I spied the purse, a boxy, black vinyl number slung protectively in the crook of her arm. Inside, in addition to a comb, religious cards of Jesus, a deck of TWA cards, school photos of her nine grandchildren, and a travel pack of Kleenex, were candy mints. Pastel candy mints in light green, pale yellow, and pink. Mints that would melt as soon as they came into contact with my saliva. Mints that, at the slightest crunch, would crumble into powder.
http://www.grandmagazine.com/news/2015/03/learned-grief-grandma/


03/31/2015
Make Travel Fun With Your Grandchild With Autism


Family trips can be a great way to bond with your loved ones, especially with your Austistic grandchild. With proper planning, realistic expectations, and a positive attitude, it can be a rewarding experience for you and your grandchild alike. All you have to do is take things one step at a time.
http://www.grandmagazine.com/news/2015/02/fun-travel-autistic-grandchild/


03/31/2015
What’s So Special About Being A Grandparent?


Grandparenthood no doubt brings with it some novel feelings. There is the initial joy not unlike the joy of brand new parenthood, as well as some added bonuses that parents don’t get.

Parents don’t have the leisure to come and go as they please and send the kids home when they get cranky, they have the liberty to spoil the grandkids and let the parents deal with the consequences, and the pure love that exists between grandparent and grandchild.
http://www.grandmagazine.com/news/2015/03/what-is-so-special-about-being-a-grandparent/


03/31/2015
A Magical Experience With Your Grandkids: Cheap Too


So many grandparents fret over what fun things they can do with their grandchildren that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Grandpa Bob Niles shares one wonderful way…
http://www.grandmagazine.com/news/2015/03/fun-thing-litl-granddaughter/


03/12/2015
NJ 2-1-1 Partnership Announces Hire of Joseph M. Geleta as New Executive Director


WHIPPANY, NJ - The NJ 2-1-1 Partnership today announced that Joseph M. Geleta, has been named Executive Director of the organization following a nationwide search. He will start on April 1. He replaces founding executive director, Laura Zink Marx, who left the organization to lead the United Way of North Carolina as its new President and CEO.

Geleta joins NJ 2-1-1 after retiring from the New Jersey State Police following a 30-year career, holding positions as State Police Academy Trainer, Assistant Chief with the Communications Bureau, and culminating with his most recent role as Recovery Bureau Captain/Bureau Chief for New Jersey's Super Storm Sandy efforts.

"We are thrilled to have someone with the depth of experience that Joseph Geleta brings to the office of executive director," said Board President Gary Shaw. "He has worked closely with NJ 2-1-1, especially with the NJ Storm Sandy Recovery efforts and offers a strategic vision for the organization that we feel will take 2-1-1 to a new level."

"I am honored to take on the responsibility of executive director for NJ 2-1-1," said Geleta, a resident of New Egypt.

"I was fortunate to have a close working relationship with Laura Marx and admire all she did to make this organization an important resource for New Jersey residents in need. I believe that there is still more to be done to make connecting to services and support simple and easy. I look forward to working with the NJ 2-1-1 Board, staff and community partners, as well as our funders, to grow 2-1-1's capacity and to make 2-1-1 the first place you call for information and assistance."

As the Recovery Bureau, Captain/Bureau Chief at the New Jersey State Police, Geleta supervised more than 60 personnel and oversaw distribution of millions of Super Storm Sandy recovery dollars. He maintained lines of communication between Federal, State and local Agency partners around recovery operations.
He also served as Communications Bureau, Lieutenant/Assistant Bureau Chief from 2009 to 2013 where he managed over 200 public safety tele communicators assigned to the 9-1-1 call center and dispatch units across the state.

Enhancing awareness is a key component of Geleta's plans for NJ 2-1-1. He wants to increase NJ 2-1-1's role in the community with added exposure through advertising and promotion.

Geleta holds an Associate of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from Middlesex County College (1991), a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Services from Thomas Edison State College (1993); a Master of Arts degree in Education from Seton Hall University (1998) and a Graduate Certificate in Criminal Justice: FBI National Academy 250th Session (2012).


12/11/2014
New Jersey Parents Caucus Family-Driven Data Brief: Psychotropic Medication Use Among NJ Children & Youth


In August 2014, NJPC began an ongoing survey to parents, caregivers and family members raising children with emotional, behavioral and mental health challenges in the state of New Jersey. Participants included biological parents, adoptive parents, foster parents, kinship providers, family members and family friends.
The Data Brief examines children and youth by child demographics, mental health diagnosis, prescribed medications, insurance type, medication prescriber and system involvement. Specific psychotropic drug types addressed include antidepressants; medications for attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD); antimanics; antipsychotics and antianxiety/anxiolytics. The full 13 page Data Brief is available for download at http://www.newjerseyparentscaucus.org/ .

Please note the Medication Survey, available in English & Spanish, is ongoing as we continue to collect data via our website and events. We welcome your participation, suggestions and comments. For more information, please feel free to contact us at 908-994-7471 or email info@njparentcaucus.org . Thank you.


10/22/2014
Social Security Changes


To learn more about social security changes please click here.


10/14/2014
PL 113-183, Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act, Includes Provisions that Help Kinship, Foster, and Adoptive Families


With the passage of PL 113-183, the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act, Congress has enacted several of the policy recommendations in the Advocates for Families First agenda. We applaud Congress for these significant improvements and look forward to hearing from our partners as they move these issues forward on the state level.

On our website we outline the provisions of the law that align with our policy recommendations. Please go here to access the chart.

For a complete text of our policy agenda, please go to our website or contact Kim Stevens at kimstevens@nacac.org  or 508-254-2200. Advocates for Families First may be able to help your organization as you advocate for effective implementation of the law at the local level.


10/09/2014
Military Family Specialist


CWLA, in partnership with Boots on Ground Consulting, Inc., is pleased to offer the Military Family Specialist in working with military members and their families. This distinctive certificate program will prepare social workers and other professionals to understand the unique features of military life and to respond to the needs of this population with culturally competent and effective services. The Military Family Specialist certificate program offers both on-line courses and in-person seminars. All courses and seminars provided in the certificate program are also available to individuals interested in learning about working with current and former military members and their families without pursuing the certificate. Program details are available at Military Family Specialist.
The initial offering in this program is an in-person seminar titled, Boot Camp: An Introduction to Military History, Culture, and Customs, to be held October 23-25, 2014 at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin. Participants will interact with current and former service members and experience military life by staying on an active military post. The registration fee is $550 and attendees will receive 15 CEUs for successful completion. Additional information and registration are available at Boot Camp.

10/02/2014
Federal, State, and Local Spending to Address Child Abuse and Neglect in SFY 2012


Federal, State, and Local Spending to Address Child Abuse and Neglect in SFY 2012 summarizes key findings from a national survey of states’ child welfare expenditures. The survey of 49 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico found that child welfare agency expenditures from federal, state, and local sources decreased by eight percent between state fiscal years 2010 and 2012—representing the first decrease in spending that has been found since the survey began in 1996. In addition, federal spending on child welfare declined, and was found to be at its lowest level since the state fiscal year 1998 survey.
http://www.childtrends.org/?publications=14383


09/12/2014
10 Parent/Teacher Tips for Helping with Back to School
By Bryan Post



For Parents:
1. Back to Bed. This one tip is probably one of the most important. Due to a summer of little structure most children’s natural sleep rhythms are out of sync. Begin at least a week ahead of time getting your child back into the school week   
    sleep routine. By the time school finally starts they’ll be well rested and slipping back into a natural pattern.
2. High protein, Low Carbs. Research has finally revealed that a diet high in proteins (meats, eggs, cheese, nuts, etc.) and low in simple carbs (refined sugars, cereals, pop tarts, fruit drinks, etc.) can help improve a child’s ability to focus 
    and learn more effectively. Summer is often a time of free grazing in the kitchen. Quickly start doing away with the summer stand by snacks, and replacing them with energy and power foods.
3. Decreasing Television. As important as the bedtime routine is the reduction of television. A national study revealed that on average children watch five hours of television a day. Imagine how much that increases during the summer.
    Television is overwhelming to the brain system of a child, leading to hyperactivity and defiance. Now is a great time to start cutting the television time in half and encouraging your child to pick up a book.
4. Familiarity with Environment. For some children this will be their first time at school, and for others this will be their first time in a new school. It can be very beneficial to take your child to the school and allow them to see it, walk down
    the halls, perhaps even meet their new teacher. This will create an opportunity for familiarity that will help your child feel more calm and safe when the first bell finally rings.
5. Talk to your Child. Take the days leading up to school to sit down and talk to your child about any fears he or she may be feeling with the new school year approaching. Going into a new grade can be quite intimidating. Let your child
    know that you will support him and love him no matter what, and you are sure that he will do his very best. Most of all, just listen to what his feelings may be as the big day approaches.

For Teachers:

6. Verbalizing Expectations. A particularly powerful opening exercise with new students is asking them their expectations of you as the teacher. Write these down on the board. Following that inform them of your expectations for them.
    After discussion and agreement, write them in a place where the children can review them from time to time. When things aren’t going so good refer them back to their expectations of you, and yours of them. This will set a tone of
    openness and trust early in the formation of your new relationship.
7. Get a Heads Up on the Child with Special Needs. All teachers want to give each child a clean slate to start with during the new school year, however a slate absent of a child’s needs is not necessarily beneficial. If you have a child in
    your classroom that had problems last year, converse with the past teacher and ask her or him what worked with the child and what did not. Help this child begin their year on a positive note by sitting them on the front row, making
    them the new assistant, and being the lunch line leader (which is code for keeping him next to you!). Remember, you are not punishing the child, but rather creating an environment for success!
8. The Importance of Touch. The simple gesture of a handshake or a pat on the shoulder during a hello is enough to help an anxious child feel safe and secure in a new environment. Unfortunately the use of touch has become a lost
    ingredient in the relationship between teachers and students, yet we fail to realize for some children the touch they receive from you may be the only positive touch they’ve had all summer. Don’t be afraid to say hello, smile, and touch
    the child on the shoulder, or hold their hand for a moment longer than normal. This small interaction can go a long way in building trust and security.
9. Quiet Time. Because of the hectic and unstructured schedules of most children during the summer, when they arrive into your classroom they’ll be wound as tight as grandma’s clock. After each major transition time such as early
    morning playground time to first class, transition from one class to the next, or following lunch and recess, take three minutes to turn the lights off, play a classical song, and encourage the children to breathe and slowly calm down. Not only are such techniques proven effective for children with ADHD, they are effective for all children following a transition.
10. Be Patient with You. It is critically important to remember that even though you’ve been doing this for years, or perhaps maybe this is your first year, you too are going to be forming new relationships. This naturally causes some initial
    anxiety. Take some deep breaths before your students come into the classroom, and remind yourself that you are the best teacher they could possibly have. Be patient with yourself first, and this will allow you to be patient with your
    students when they need it the most.



09/02/2014
NJ Family and Youth Leadership Academy Nominations are OPEN!!


Nominations meetings will be held on Friday September 5, 2014 at 5:00pm.
Leading Change in Our Lives and in the Lives of Others
After a successful first year, nominations are now open for the 2nd class of the NJ Family & Youth Leadership Academy led by the NJ Alliance of Family Support Organizations (FSO) in partnership with Georgetown University and Youth MOVE National.
Beginning September 2, 2014, FSOs and Youth Partnerships will make nominations based on the following criteria:
• Youth/young adult ages 16-28 with mental health, behavioral or substance abuse needs
• A primary caregiver of a youth/young adult with mental health challenges or substance abuse needs
• Families who are currently or formally involved in NJ’s systems including: Juvenile Justice, DCP&P (formerly DYFS), System of Care (CMO/FSO), Special Education, Family Success Centers, School-based Services.
• Access to a phone, internet and computer
• Can commit to 2 hours per month on the phone and a total of 4 in-person meetings over 10 months
• Is an advocate with the desire to learn about leadership
There is a 12-month commitment, monthly conference calls/web-based discussions. Each participant will receive a Leadership Coach to tackle a leadership challenge. Each year only 40 caregivers, 8 of which must be fathers/male caregivers, and 25 youth and young adults will be accepted. This is a prestigious opportunity to become Leadership Alumni and lead lasting change in New Jersey and across the nation! Attached please find information about the NJ Family& Youth Leadership Academy to help you identify potential nominees.
Nominations meetings will be held on Friday September 5, 2014 at 5:00pm. Interested youth, families and referring agencies are encouraged to attend. Application deadline is September 9, 2015. Please call Family Partners of Morris and Sussex Counties, a Family Support Organization at 973-940-3194 to register. Dinner will be provided.
For more information please click: Leadership information, Sponsorship Form, Youth Leadership Brochure.


08/07/2014
American Indian/ Alaska Native Kinship Care: Models of Support


Aug. 21, 2014 ♦ 3-4:30 P.M. (EDT)
Representatives from NICWA, NRCT and tribal communities will discuss the impact and importance of utilizing kinship networks within tribal communities as models of support. The webinar content will be of interest broadly within the child welfare and kinship care communities as we learn from each other. Register at: CWLA Aug. 21 Webinar..


04/21/2014
Helping With Your Grandchild’s College Tuition


Click here to read the Grandparenting.org article on “Helpling with your Grandchild’s College Tuition.”


11/16/2013
NFPA/FSFAPA National Conference


Join us and learn how the dreams of you and the children in your care can become a reality.
To learn more please click here.



10/30/2013
Social Security Announces 1.5 Percent Benefit Increase for 2014


Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for nearly 63 million Americans will increase 1.5 percent in 2014, the Social Security Administration announced today.
The 1.5 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits that more than 57 million Social Security beneficiaries receive in January 2014. Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 31, 2013.
Some other changes that take effect in January of each year are based on the increase in average wages. Based on that increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $117,000 from $113,700. Of the estimated 165 million workers who will pay Social Security taxes in 2014, about 10 million will pay higher taxes as a result of the increase in the taxable maximum.
Information about Medicare changes for 2014 is available at www.Medicare.gov .
The Social Security Act provides for how the COLA is calculated. To read more, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/cola.


07/22/2013
Five Risks Facing Young Children in Our Military Families


More than two million children in the U.S. have had a parent deploy to Afghanistan or Iraq. When a parent goes to war - and often for years afterward - families are deeply affected. Young children are especially vulnerable, because they're physically and emotionally dependent on adults, and because their brain development can be disrupted by high levels of stress. When young children experience high levels of stress and trauma, the effects can continue well after their parents' military service ends, when their families may have less access to needed supports.
To read more please click here.

07/17/2013
CA: Grandparents raising grandchildren often lack financial support they need


San Bernadino Sun - July 17, 2013
Chavez is one of more than 300,000 grandparents in California who have primary responsibility for their grandchildren. Nearly 65,000 of them are older than 65, and more than 20,000 of those older grandparents care for their grandchildren without any other family member present, according to a June report by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the Insight Center for Community Economic Development.
http://www.sbsun.com/ci_23682064/grandparents-raising-grandchildren-often-lack-financial-support-they
 

07/01/2013
Booming | Retirees adopt children to make a difference


Each day as many as 10,000 boomers are turning 65, the traditional age of retirement. For those who can afford to retire, choices abound. Perhaps it’s time to start a new career, travel the world, write the great American novel or paint landscapes. These are the kinds of things you expect to hear when you chat with people about their impending retirement.
But, lately, there’s another wrinkle that’s catching on. Retirement-age boomers are adopting children, ranging in age from little ones to older teens. In fact, one out of four adoptions is by a person or couple over 55 years of age.
http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20130626/PRIME04/306260066/Booming-Retirees-adopt-children-make-difference?nclick_check=1

04/23/2013
ECNJ E-news

For January edition click here ( including News about NJ child protection, FamilyCare, Preschool)
For February edition click here ( including News about education, school breakfast, youth foster care guide).
For April Edition click here. (including How do kids fare in the state budget).
 

04/01/2013
April Is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, an opportunity to raise awareness about child abuse and neglect and promote activities aimed at protecting children and supporting families. This year's Prevention Month activities continue to reflect the Office on Child Abuse and Neglect's (OCAN's) June 2011 conference theme, Preventing Child Maltreatment and Promoting Well-Being: Network for Action.
For more details log onto https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewArticles&issueid=145&articleid=3824


03/25/2013
NET CETERA Chatting with Kids About Being Online

To download the brochure please click here.


 
02/27/2013
Time to Keep the Promise of Preschool


Advocates for Children of New Jersey called on Governor Chris Christie and the state Legislature to begin funding expansion of high-quality preschool that would provide thousands of young learners with a jump start on their education, increasing their chances for school success.
“While New Jersey has led the nation on providing preschool to low-income children, thousands of children are still denied this early education because of where they live,” said Cynthia Rice, senior policy analyst and report author. “It is time to make good on the promise of preschool.”
Read the report.


02/27/2013
NJ Leads Nation in Dramatic Drop in Juvenile Incarceration


New Jersey led the nation with a drastic decline in the rate at which youth are locked up, plummeting 53 percent over a 13-year period, while still maintaining public safety, according to a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Nationally, the detention rate declined 37 percent from 1997 to 2010, according to the KIDS COUNT Data Snapshot. New Jersey saw the sixth highest drop in juvenile detention nationally.
Read the report


02/14/2013
Teen Dating Violence Awareness


Did you know that one in every three teens will experience some form of dating abuse in their lifetime? These teens and young adults experience the same types of relationship abuse as adults do in the form of physical, verbal, emotional and sexual mistreatment. Adolescents often have the added pressure of digital abuse that comes from texting, emailing or social media sites like Facebook and Instagram.
To raise awareness of this issue, February has been declared Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, a national effort to highlight the need to educate young people about dating violence prevention and the importance of healthy relationships.
To read the entire article please click here.



07/272012
Help for difficult Financial Times


Children often pick up on family financial struggles and can feel stressed by them. Explaining the situation in a way they can understand and involving them in solutions can help ease their fears. Visit www.kids.gov for suggestions on how kids can help the family save money during difficult financial times.   The ideas  help teach kids that everyone in the family can help save money.



06/13/2012
Making Kinship Placements Work for Kids and Families


Our next parent group conference call on Wednesday, June 13 at 11:00 a.m. will feature Gerard Wallace, Esq., program director of NYS Kinship Navigator. Jerry will provide an overview of the extensive information and resources available on the NYS Navigator website for NYS kinship families. To participate, simply call the dial 712-432-0080 from your normal telephone and enter the access code 445277# when prompted.