Centering Families through New Program Model: AKIN
This month, Children’s Home & Aid launched our newest program model – AKIN: Achieving Permanency through Kinship placement Investing in co-parenting with Natural parents. AKIN strives to bring our Blueprint for Impact to life by evolving and expanding our Caregiver Support Team to work alongside families as they navigate the child welfare system. We believe the most important asset for child and youth well-being is the family and this foundational belief is crucial to ensure we are collaborating with families to help them thrive.
We know parents need assistance navigating a complicated foster care system and accessing appropriate resources to support reunification with their children. With the AKIN model, our Caregiver Support Team created the new role of Parent Partners to help fill this gap. Parent Partners are staff with lived experience within the child welfare system who understand parents’ experiences with the system. Our Parent Partners connect with parents to provide one on one mentorship and work collaboratively with their case manager and licensing specialist to support them throughout their case.
One of our Parent Partners shared the importance of this new role for families:
“Being a Parent Partner means providing the support that is lacking to parents and being able to change the system to help reunite and build strong families. Being a support system for parents to gain back their self confidence in successfully raising their child/children. We aim to help parents address their feelings towards the case such as fear, anger, and hurt so they can be their strongest self and be the best parent moving forward. It means to fill the void of emptiness and confusion during a tragic situation. All around being the support piece that all parents have been missing in the system.”
A unique aspect of this new position is the Parent Partners’ focus on promoting shared parenting between the caregivers and parents. Shared parenting is an important step to build respectful, trusting relationships and help families reunify as soon as they are ready. Children’s Home & Aid is a leading agency in the state and nationally on establishing staff roles for individuals with lived experience and working collaboratively with families to transform systems
If you have further questions about AKIN, please reach out to Ashley Akerman, Program Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.