You’ve reached the Kids Have Rights Action Center, the advocacy website of Kids Have Rights. We are a IRS approved 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. We advocate and and provide support for kinship placement outside the court system, including counseling, respite care, therapy and other program services and guidance to Kinship Caregivers, as well as the same support for Relative Caregivers who are already involved with the Foster Care or Dependency systems.

Both Kinship Caregivers and Relative Caregivers share a common bond – trying to care for and protect at-risk children. These may be children born to one of their own children or children born to a relative. They must also deal with the issues arising from the removal of the children from the custody of their biological parents, whether on a temporary or permanent basis, either voluntarily or through legal process. Relative Caregivers face unique challenges because they are dealing with often unsympathetic and at times hostile Foster Care and Dependency systems and other state agencies. The stress to Kinship Caregivers and Relative Caregivers can be overwhelming.

We have been where you are and can help you navigate the many issues you are facing or will face as a Kinship Caregiver or Relative Caregiver.

Kids Have Rights works with various state agencies, public and private organizations to formulate processes and procedures to look for and locate family members and relatives who may be willing and able to serve as a viable alternative to the temporary or permanent placement of child in a foster home or shelter. Too many times, family members that may live out of the area or who are estranged from a child or relative are unaware of a child facing removal from their biological parents custody, and are not contacted about potentially intervening to care for the child or children.

Kids Have Rights also works with legislators and advocates at the local and state level in Florida to advocate for shifting the focus of the Foster Care and Dependency systems to recognize Relative Caregivers as the first, and preferred, option for temporary or permanent placement of an at-risk child, and making foster care or sheltering the choice of last resort.

Our goal is to make this site a hub of information, links, conversations and support. Please sign up to follow us and keep informed of our posts in the future, leave us a comment or message, below, or follow our tweets, right.Your tax-deductible donations support the advocacy and programs of Kids Have Rights.   To donate, use the Donate button, right.

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Usually grandparents get to be softies with their grandkids, but this video tells the real story of a brave couple who is raising their granddaughter as their own. In doing so, they rediscovered that parenting takes both softness and strength.

Or watch the video on YouTube here.


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Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Reposting a  Sun-Sentinel article from a few years ago – even more sobering today, as the numbers have continued to climb for both Kinship Care and Relative Care!

New Census Bureau figures show the number of South Florida grandparents raising their grandchildren skyrocketed between 2006 and 2010 — up 28 percent in Broward County and 11 percent in Palm Beach County.

That means 25,000 South Florida grandparents are stepping into mom and dad’s shoes, coming up with money for school clothes, a growing grocery list and rising housing costs.

Resources for grandparents

Senior service hotlines can make referrals to programs assisting grandparent parents. Call 954-745-9779 in Broward County and 866-684-5885 in Palm Beach County.

Other resources: In Broward: The Pantry of Broward at 954-358-1481, Kids in Distress Kinship program at 954-390-7654, HANDY (Helping Abused Neglected Disadvantaged Youth) at 954-522-2911. In Palm Beach County: Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach’s Relative Caregivers Program at 561-655-8944, the Children, Youth and Families At Risk program with the University of Florida/Palm Beach CountyCooperative Extension office at 561-233-1742.


Read the full story here.

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Florida Child Welfare Bills Near Approval

Via news.wsfu.org : After a spate of child deaths in Florida, the Department of Children and Families is doubling down on child welfare reforms. Now state lawmakers are poised to pass a suite of bills to bolster that effort.

Reforms are still underway at the Department of Children and Families, and the state’s foster care and adoption systems are getting reworked as well. Now some state lawmakers want to shift the court’s priorities when placing children in those systems.

“Current law permits even a parent who has murdered a spouse, committed egregious acts against their children, or who wishes to punish a foster parent that has provided a caring home for their child for a lengthy period of time, to choose who their child will be placed with, because their parental rights have not been taken away yet,” she said.

That’s bill sponsor Senator Nancy Detert of Venice. Under Detert’s bill, judges would prioritize the interests of the child, even if it means overriding the parents’ wishes.

“This clears this up and at least it will call for a judge to make a ruling not for what’s in the best interest of a parent, but for what’s in the best interest of the child,” she said.

The bill has passed both chambers and now heads to the governor’s desk.

Detert is also building on a new law that expands foster care services for young adults.

“Over the past few years we’ve enacted some major changes to the child welfare system. One of the changes, the extension of foster care to the age of 21 has led to concerns about disparities in service delivery and placement options depending on where young adults live in the state,” she said.

Representatives Neil Combee of Auburndale and Gayle Harrell of Stuart are sponsoring a similar measure that passed the House Wednesday. Harrell says the bill is aimed at raising the standards for foster homes.

“It also requires a quality rating system, and I think this is the key component so we can upgrade the entire process and upgrade the facilities we have out there taking care of our children. It requires this quality rating system for both group homes and foster homes,” she said.

Representative Charles McBurney of Jacksonville wants stricter background checks for people working in child care. Under Florida law, sex offenders and people with certain felony convictions cannot work as child care providers. But McBurney says some can still slip through the cracks.

“Currently under Florida law, these crimes disqualify individuals from working as child care personnel. However, DCF is authorized to grant exemptions from disqualification under certain conditions, which would allow convicted murderers and arsonists to work in child care,” he said.

The measure would put a stop to those case by case exemptions. McBurney says a reporter first brought the issue to his attention.

“A child care worker was working in a child care facility and had battered a young toddler. And it turns out that that person had committed a similar offense before. And the reporter said, which none of us want to hear, did you know that? And my answer was no, but we’re going to do something about it,” he said.

And Wednesday, McBurney followed through when the House passed the bill unanimously. The Senate is expected to take up the measure Thursday.

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Sobering information, courtesy of the Robert Wood Johnson Founation

Infographic: The Truth About ACEs

Infographic created to share information about what adverse childhood experiences are, how prevalent they are and their impact.Web jpg

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Florida’s Children First Awards


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Infographic: Why Recurring Gifts Matter

Fundraising tip: Network for Good offers an easy way for nonprofits to offer a monthly giving program that makes it a snap for donors to set up a recurring donation. Why do recurring gifts matter? They analyzed $106M in donations from 2013 to understand how recurring giving drives donation dollars to good causes. Read the article here, or check out the info graphic they produced, below:


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US Census Bureau Facts & Figures: “Grandparents As Caregivers” Links

A brief sample of information and links on the US Census Bureau’s Grandparent statistics page. Find much more here.

7 million

The number of grandparents whose grandchildren under the age of 18 were living with them in 2011. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2011 American Community Survey, Table B10050

2.7 million

The number of grandparents responsible for the basic needs of one or more grandchildren under the age 18 living with them in 2011. Of these caregivers, 1.7 million were grandmothers and 1.0 million were grandfathers. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2011 American Community Survey, Table B10056

1.9 million

The number of married (including separated) grandparents responsible for caring for their grandchildren. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2011 American Community Survey, Table B10057

1.7 million

The number of grandparents in the labor force responsible for their own grandchildren under the age of 18. Among them, 338,000 were 60 years or older.
Source: U. S. Census Bureau, 2011 American Community Survey, Table B10058

5.5 million

The number of children under 18 living with a grandparent householder in 2011. Nearly half, 48 percent or 2.6 million, were under age 6. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2011 American Community Survey, Table B10001


The percentage of children in the U.S. living with a grandparent in 2012, totaling 7.1 million. Source: America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2012, Table C4

2.7 million

The number of children living with both their grandmother and grandfather in 2012.
Source: America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2012, Table C4

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Grandparents Step Up, Save Families

Strong coverage by CNN  as part of their “Hero” profiles: André de Toledo, who’s daughter Nikki de Toledo, after years of struggling with depression, killed herself with a prescription drug overdose when she was 27. Nikki didn’t leave a suicide note, but she did leave her 8-year-old son, Kevin.

Ginette and André, Kevin’s grandparents, immediately took over custody, because Kevin’s father lived abroad and had never been a part of his life. And they were not alone: It’s often the grandparents who step up when a parent dies or is unable to take care of a child for other reasons, such as incarceration, abuse or mental illness. In 2011, there were at least 2.7 million grandparents raising a grandchild in the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

Now, more than a quarter-century later, the nonprofit she founded to help others in similar circumstances,  GrandparentsAsParents.org, is a leader among 20 support groups across Los Angeles, and the nonprofit works with more than 3,000 families a year, providing them with financial assistance, legal advice and emotional support. More than 90% of the caregivers are grandparents, but the nonprofit also assists aunts, uncles, siblings and close friends who have stepped up to care for children when their biological parents can’t.

Quoting from the CNN profile: De Toledo said her group has kept thousands of children from entering the foster care system, and they’ve also kept siblings from being separated. “We’ve literally saved families,” she said. But the true heroes, she said, are the caregivers. “It’s really the grandparents and the relatives who are doing this that deserve the recognition for putting their own lives on hold,” she said. “I just was able to plant a seed with something that happened in my own family. … “From a family tragedy, something wonderful has happened.”

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CNN Reports: Number Of Grandparents Raising Grandkids Skyrockets

CNN, citing recent statistics from the U.S. Census Bureaureports that in the past two decades, the number of children living with a grandparent has risen 64%.

The figures, taken from the latest household relationship module of the Survey of Income and Program Participation, paint a picture that varies widely among races and cultures. White grandparents caring for their grandchildren account for the smallest numbers overall, but have shown the biggest increase.

In 1991, 15% of black children, 12% of Hispanic children and 5% of white kids lived with at least one grandparent. By 2009, 17% of black and 14% of Hispanic children lived with at least one grandparent, a slight increase. Nine percent of white children lived with at least one grandparent, “a significant change,” the census report said.

You can read the report here.

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More Child Left Behind…

Pathetic and scary information via the Washington Post Local website blog: a list of the  forty-three education programsincluding those that promote literacy, teacher development and dropout prevention — that have have been targeted for elimination in a Republican-sponsored bill in the House as a first step toward rewriting the law known as “No Child Left Behind.”

Titled, ironically, the “Setting New Priorities In Education Spending Act,” it was introduced by Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-CA., chairman of the subcommitee that oversees preK-12 policy, and praised by Rep. John Kline, R-MN, chairman of the House Education & The Workforce Committee. Check out the blog post for an extensive breakdown of the programs and categories via the link indicated above, or hereOr read the self-serving Republican-produced Summary here.

You know, there are days when words just fail us.

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