Kinship Center Addresses National Audience on Adoption Competency and the Importance of Connections for Foster Youth

Of the 50,000 children in California’s foster care system, many will reach age 18 without a permanent family. For these young adults, it is especially critical to know how to form meaningful relationships that will sustain them throughout their lives.

Two Kinship Center professionals from Monterey County and Orange County were featured presenters on the topic of lifelong connections for foster children last month at the 2012 annual national conference of the North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) in Washington D.C.

Salinas-based longtime Kinship Center staff member Paul Felder (photo right), a Lead Family Assistant with a special program that helps stabilize at-risk families, joined Tustin-based mom Kim Felder (left), a nationally recognized Kinship Center Family Recruiter, and Sari Grant and Bryan Miller from the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services (center) to address an audience of professionals about “Camp Kinnect,” a unique outdoor experience that connects foster teens to caring adult volunteers.

Now in its second year, Camp Kinnect was conceived by Kinship Center staff to help teens in the public child welfare system understand the importance of forming connections to others. The 12-18 year old camp participants, most of whom carry the scars of past abuse and have little experience with healthy relationships, enjoy outdoor fun in a retreat setting as they learn to interact with others and build relationships. "Camp Kinnect teaches these kids that they don’t have to be alone in their lives,” said Felder.

Also featured at the NACAC conference was Kinship Center's So CA Division DIrector Allison Maxon, who presented a mini curriculum to equip parents and professionals with knowledge and skills to sustain families through post-permanency crises. Maxon has broad experience in curriculum development and training, and is a frequent presenter at national conferences.  

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