The Edgewood Children's Center and two other organizations held a national conference on services for grandparents and other family members who care for a child relative.
Kinship Care: A Natural Bridge, held in San Francisco, on August 13–15, 1997, drew some 1,000 attendees and was viewed as a first step towards expanding these services nationwide. It was co-sponsored by Edgewood (now called the Edgewood Center for Children and Families), the Child Welfare League of America, and the American Association of Retired Persons.
The conference sought to:
- Educate participants on services for adults who care for a child relative.
- Develop national policy recommendations.
- Disseminate model caregiver programs that could be broadly replicated.
- Participants attended workshops on model state policies, discussed policy development at the local and state levels, and trained caregivers and service providers to advocate for improved policies.
- More than 15 models of kinship support services were highlighted during the conference. These included Edgewood's Kinship Support Network, which provides support to grandparents and family members who raise children.
- Two networking sessions followed the conference. One addressed kinship care in the welfare reform era and the other highlighted the prospects for policy change at the state and national level.
- Proceedings of the 1997 conference were disseminated though a press conference and at individual briefings of 25 journalists.
Stories on the conference were presented on local radio stations, a television station, and in The San Francisco Examiner. Twenty-five copies of a 20-minute videotape of conference highlights were distributed.
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