Kinship Navigator Program - Washington State
About This Program
Target Population: Grandparents and other relatives (aunts/uncles, older siblings, etc.), ages 18 and over, who are raising children because the children's parents are unable to do so
The Kinship Navigator Program - Washington State is a program that serves 30 counties and 8 tribes and provides a human services worker known as a Kinship Navigator that provides services to kinship care families in a single or multi-county area or for one of eight Tribes. The role of the Kinship Navigator is to connect grandparents and relatives who are raising children with community resources, such as health, financial, legal services, support groups, training, and emergency funds. Since many kinship care families are unaware of services for which they are entitled, Kinship Navigators also explain how to apply for federal and state benefits. The Kinship Navigator services help kinship care families establish or maintain greater self-sufficiency and long-term stability needed to keep their children out of foster care.
The goal of the Kinship Navigator Program – Washington State is:
- Help kinship care families establish or maintain greater self-sufficiency and long-term stability needed to keep their children out of foster care
The essential components of the Kinship Navigator Program - Washington State include:
- The Kinship Navigator, the specialized human services worker:
- Usually serves in multiple counties or within a Tribal services system
- Principal duties and responsibilities include:
- Providing information and assistance functions along with supportive listening to grandparents and relatives of all ages who are raising children or planning to do so
- Being knowledgeable about relevant federal and state benefits, as well as local resources
- Actively reaching out and locating kinship care families in their service area, identifying those not involved in support group networks and/or in need of additional services; special attention is focused on serving relatives from geographically isolated and ethnic communities
- Providing follow-up with kinship caregivers
- Developing strong collaborative working relationships with groups and agencies that work with kinship caregivers:
- Helping to educate the community, including service providers and faith based organizations about the needs of kinship care families and available resources and services to them
- Pro-actively mediating with state agency staff and/or service providers to make sure individual caregivers receive services for which they are eligible
- Must be able to assist in establishing stable, respectful relationships between kinship caregivers and DSHS local office staff; including Division of Children and Family Services, Community Services Offices, as well as other agencies such as the Area Agencies on Aging and the Office of Education Ombudsman
- Collecting necessary program and service data and ensure that reports are completed in an accurate manner and on a timely basis including:
- Services or resources requested and persons served
- The needs of kinship caregivers and their satisfaction with the assistance provided
- Identification of gaps and barriers to services
Kinship Navigator Program - Washington State directly provides services to parents/caregivers and addresses the following:
- Raising a relative's child(ren) because the child(ren)'s parents are unable to do so
Length of contact dependent on the needs of the grandparent or relative who is requesting help
No recommended duration of services, although follow-up recommended
This program is typically conducted in a(n):
- Community Agency
This program does not include a homework component.
Kinship Navigator Program - Washington State has materials available in languages other than English:
Cambodian, Chinese, Korean, Laotian, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Vietnamese
For information on which materials are available in these languages, please check on the program's website or contact the program representative (contact information is listed at the bottom of this page).
Resources Needed to Run Program
The typical resources for implementing the program are:
- Designated staff
- Office space
- Access to phones
- Internet access
- Reporting system
- Flyers or brochures
- Available interpreters/translation services
- Access to vehicle
Education and Training
Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications
- Navigators should have a Bachelor's-level degree (preferably in human services or related field) or five years of related experience as a substitute and two years paid or volunteer experience with families in kinship or foster care placements.
- A minimum of two years paid or volunteer experience working to provide direct services to kinship or foster care families or at least two years of college level courses in a relevant field (social work, human services, etc.) is recommended for Tribal Kinship Navigators.
- Can pass a criminal background check
- Has a driver’s license
Education and Training Resources
There is a manual that describes how to implement this program ; but there is not training available for this program.
Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research
Currently, there are no published, peer-reviewed research studies for Kinship Navigator Program - Washington State.
Triwest Group (December 2005). Casey Family Programs: Kinship Navigator pilot project replication manual. Seattle, WA.
Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: April 2017
Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: May 2017
Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: February 2009