Kinship Legal Guardianship Program

From left: Marshall Bright of Newark has taken care of her granddaughters Shayla, 10, Tameka, 12. and Cheyenne, 14, since they were born.
From left: Marshall Bright of Newark has taken care of her granddaughters Shayla, 10, Tameka, 12. and Cheyenne, 14, since they were born.

The Kinship Legal Guardianship Program (KLG) is a program provided by the Family Service Bureau of Newark (FSB) that offers services to families in need. Each year the Kinship program helps families develop skills and gain insight that enable them to become a more stable household. Through bi-monthly support meetings, home visits, and supportive services, the program serves as a resource to guide individuals like Marshall Bright and her family to develop a support network that fosters healthy relationships.

“I enjoy being a member of the KLG program,” Bright, a Newark resident, said. “Through this program, I have gained knowledge about various services and resources that I probably would not have known about otherwise.”

Bright has been a member of the program for five months and has had custody of her three grandchildren—Cheyenne, 14, Tameka, 12,  and Shayla, 10—since their births. “It’s been hard at times, however, with the help of my sister, nieces, nephews, friends and neighbors, I can say that my grandchildren and I have been blessed,” the grandmother said.

The Kinship program supports grandparents and other relative caregivers so that children and siblings can remain within their extended families and communities.  The program is open to relative caregivers living in Newark. Referrals are accepted from any source: self-referrals, family members, schools, community-based organizations, faith based organizations and the Family Service Bureau, among others.

Support is provided to the caregivers, as well as their family through programs at New Community. Available services include family advocacy, case management, supportive counseling and crisis intervention, linkage with community resources, legal services, support groups, workshops and training, family activities and family support.

Bright said that she and her grandchildren look forward to attending the bi-monthly meetings. In fact, the girls remind her about upcoming appointments. Her grandchildren said they enjoy the family activities the program offers, such as visiting Dorney Park in Pennsylvania.

Kinship program families are often headed by a grandparent, older sibling or aunts/uncles, cousins or a close friend of the family. The length of the stay in the program is 12 months. No paperwork is required. Only contact information and needs must be identified. During the time in the KLG program, the family is assessed for self-sufficiency and stability.

Are you currently caring for underage relatives in your home because they cannot live with their parents? Are there children placed with you through the Department Of Child Protection and Permanency, formerly the Division of Youth and Family Services?  Are you a Newark resident?  Would you like to have people you can turn to for support, resources and assistance?  If so, contact Coordinator Mary Jenkins of the Family Service Bureau of Newark Kinship Legal Guardianship Program for more information at 973-412-2056.

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