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Main Services Area

Educational Programs
Educational Programs provide students with the skills they need to live successful lives. Our robust programs include early childhood development, classroom consultations in partnership with school districts, adult continuing education programs and parent workshops.
Support Services

Support Services offer various programs to address social determinants of health, including housing and employment coaching and placement, among other critically needed services.

The Kinship Support Services Program is one in a suite of programs in Contra Costa County (in the Capital Region) that launched in 1985. The goal of the Kinship Support Services Program is to assist family or relative caregivers–often grandparents–so they can effectively provide for the youth in their care and help avoid non-family foster care placement. Kinship caregivers often step into the primary role of caregiver due to one of the following reasons: adult child’s mental or physical health, substance use, abuse, incarceration, abandonment or death. Some relative caregivers are also licensed resource parents, but not all.

The program also offers a wide range of activities, resources and opportunities to connect in order to help strengthen and support kinship caregivers, youth and families and enhance the family’s overall functioning. Examples of offerings include in-person youth and adult support groups, in-person youth skill-building workshops, roller skating events, family picnics and much more.

Calendar of upcoming events and services for clients of the Kinship Support Services Program
Calendar of upcoming events and services for clients of the Kinship Support Services Program

About 150 families or 300 individuals per year are served by the program, which is free and open to relative or non-related extended family members who are primary caregivers of youth up to 21 years of age in Contra Costa County. Caregivers do not have to be a licensed resource parent to join and families can stay in the program until their last child turns 21.

“Some folks have stayed with us for years and years,” says Antoinette Harris, associate clinical director for Contra Costa Support Services.

When caregivers’ needs are met, they may experience less stress and may have a greater overall sense of well-being.

Relative caregivers may become overwhelmed as they try to meet their own needs and the needs of the youth living with them, according to Antoinette. Frustration and confusion are common when navigating different systems such as juvenile justice, child services and school.

“These systems may expect relative caregivers to shoulder the responsibilities of raising a child with seemingly little regard for the challenges associated,” she says.

In the Kinship Support Services Program, families are able to take advantage of a myriad of resources and services (at no cost) such as:

  • Wide range of social events and activities, such as picnics, roller skating, escape rooms and other events
  • Resources, information and referrals (legal, medical, therapy, community classes)
  • Workshops on a variety of topics, such as youth skill-building
  • Case management
  • Afterschool programming
  • Guardianship/adoption support
  • Youth mentoring
  • Support groups
  • Assistance with basic needs
  • Advocacy for the families
  • Finding support from, and connect to, other families in the program
  • Two types of respite care (short-term relief from parenting to rest or spent time with other family members and friends):
    • Group respite: activities supervised by program staff without adults to give caregivers a break
    • Paid respite: caregiver selects respite provider within their personal network and that caregiver would receive compensation

Currently, the team is working on restoring the program’s in-person atmosphere that existed before the pandemic.

“It’s a community here, and we’re recreating the pre-pandemic atmosphere where families can just stop by to chat, grab a snack or just have a place to be and be with each other,” says Antoinette.

The program is also currently seeking additional funding streams, which would support additional resources for families, including activity costs, housing-related (non-rent) expenses, basic assistance, groceries and more.

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