Keeping Families Together

   History

The Crack Crisis of the 1980’s and early 1990’s devastated families in South Los Angeles.  The political response – the War of Drugs – resulted in unforeseen levels of incarceration, the criminalization of black and brown communities, and the break-up of thousands of families.  In LA County over 50,000 children were removed from their homes – 40% of all removals were from South LA alone.  The majority of these children were placed with relatives who had the love, but not the support and resources to provide for the needs of the children in their care.  Without these heroic grandparents, aunts and uncles, and other families stepping up, many children would have lingered in unfamiliar homes for years.

Community Coalition learned of this issue from South LA social service providers who met many of these families at their doors requesting services.  Following a study group to better understand the issue and speaking directly with relative caregivers themselves, Community Coalition joined caregivers and took up the fight for better awareness, resources and supports for caregivers and the children in their care.

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“In 1993, I received a phone call from my son telling me he was incarcerated in Colorado.  My grandson’s mother was a chronic drug user and the state deemed her unfit to parent.  I got the name of the social worker and went to a court hearing the next week.  I have had Anthony ever since.  He is my flesh and blood.  That’s what family does.  We take care of each other.”

– Mary Carraway, Relative Caregiver

   Victories

For the past 15 years Community Coalition has been organizing relative caregivers in South Los Angeles to have a strong voice and to advocate for the needs and rights of all relative caregivers and their children through our Kinship in Action (KIA) program.  KIA families have won significant and important victories including South LA’s first kinship center, $82 million for foster care reform (with $36 million dedicated to kinship support statewide), and being awarded a $3.5 million three-year grant to implement a pilot program that combines resource navigation, education, and leadership development for relative caregivers.

“I feel lucky to have found Community Coalition and others like me. So many other relative caregivers are struggling and have no support. It is very easy to feel stressed and overwhelmed. I feel it is important for us relative caregivers to fight together to get more resource.”

– Amparo Remington, Relative Caregiver

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SEE OUR TIMELINE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR VICTORIES

FAMILIES HELPING FAMILIES

Are you a grandparent, aunt, uncle or other family member who has stepped up to care for the child of a relative when their parents were no longer able to act as their primary caregiver? We’re here for you. Community Coalition’s Families Helping Families program  connects relative caregivers to services that meet your family’s specific needs so that you and your family can thrive.

Are you a relative caregiver in South Los Angeles? If so, we are here to help! Contact Kinship In Action at 1(323) 750-9087.