Local NewsVegas Stronger

Actions

Vegas Stronger Champion: Foster Kinship

Foster Kinship supports many of the 30,000 kids in Nevada who fall outside the foster system.
Vegas Stronger Champion: Foster Kinship
Vegas Stronger Champion: Foster Kinship
Posted at 12:16 PM, Mar 01, 2023

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — When a relative or family friend takes care of a child so they don't enter the foster care system, it's known as kinship care. A Las Vegas charity is making sure those caregivers have what they need to succeed, and Findlay Automotive Group is highlighting Foster Kinship as the Vegas Stronger Champion for March 2023.

There are 30,000 children in Nevada who fall under the auspices of kinship care, which falls outside the support network of the foster care system.

Ali Calindo founded Foster Kinship in 2011 after noticing that kids living with relatives were not getting the same support that she was in her role as a foster parent.

"It didn't make sense to me that a child coming into my home would get support, and financial help, and training, and living with grandma would get pretty much nothing," Calindo told KTNV, "so I really wanted to provide some equity for all kids, because it's great when kids can stay with their family, but we have to support that family."

Foster Kinship ensures that families have necessities like clothes, cribs, car seats, and toys, but they also want to help families thrive in the wake of difficult pasts.

"We know that kids who can't live with their parents have experienced trauma and abuse and neglect, and we want to help the caregivers and the children overcome some of those traumatic experiences," said Calindo.

"We have a whole childcare program that's designed to intervene and help kids get some self-regulation skills, and also to teach caregivers how to parent kids who have experienced that trauma," she added.

One of the Las Vegas families that Foster Kinship has helped is Cynthia Norris and her great-grandson Vinny, who is four years old.

"I had to step up to get him," Norris told KTNV. "I'm retired at 67 years old, but I had to help my family."

For caregivers like Norris, the support of Foster Kinship has proven invaluable.

"They've been with me, they've supported me all through the process," Norris said. "They didn't just leave me at the onset, they stayed with me and walked alongside me and helped me get the things that I needed to get done."

For all the hard work supporting valley kids and families, Jeff Giles of Findlay Automotive Group recognized Foster Kinship as the Vegas Stronger Champion of March 2023.

"We love what you guys do," Giles told Calindo, "and I can't think of a more noble mission than to keep children safe and keep families intact, and to keep them with people that they already know, and that love them. It's just such a wonderful thing, so thank you for what you're doing."

If you'd like to help Foster Kinship, they accept gently used clothes and toys. They have several different opportunities available for volunteers who want to contribute.