(This article is co-published with The Seattle Times.)
If this country genuinely cared about protecting the lives of children, Barb Taylor would be out of a job and grandmothers like Ollie Reeves would never anguish over how to feed the children in their care.
At the age of 50, Shrounda Selivanoff saw herself doing many things. Recently, she became the director of public policy for Children’s Home Society of Washington (CHSW). This is in addition to her work as a community advocate for children and families. However, raising a newborn was not a part of her plan. “I’m committed to my grandchild. I’m committed for life,” Shrounda says proudly. “I’m his grandmother.”
Women United ensures that “kinship caregivers” — grandparents who are raising their grandchildren — are taken care of and celebrated all year round, including Christmas.
This Saturday, Dec. 18, the nonprofit is hosting a Winter Wonderland event at Renton’s Angel of Hope Engagement Center from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. There, under the glow of Christmas lights and immersed in Christmas music, caregivers and children are invited to celebrate the holiday with chili, cornbread, Christmas cookies, hot chocolate with marshmallows, and spiced apple cider. Gifts will be provided for those in attendance.
(This article originally appeared on Amara’s website and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
I’ve had the privilege of working within child welfare for almost 12 years now. My professional journey started in our state agency (now called the Department of Children, Youth and Families — DCYF) supporting children who were “legally free,” meaning children who the state has decided cannot safely return home and are now seeking to find forever families, typically through adoption or guardianship.
As a social work practicum student, I was able to immerse myself in the work of all aspects of child welfare including doing “ride arounds” with Child Protective Services (CPS) investigators and sitting in on intense family decision meetings. Throughout my career, I have always looked for the best ways to support kids and families in foster care, including looking at how best to support Black families caring for kids and youth in our immediate and extended families.
There will always be one family from that time who has stuck with me even after all these years.
While guardians of children are in a caring role and are seldom cared for themselves, a backyard social event on Saturday, May 8, is providing a space for both grandmothers, and the children they look after, to be cared for.
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Morning Update Show — Wednesday, March 10
LIVE — Marcus Harrison Green | LIVE — Julie Wise | Nikkita Oliver Is Running for City Council | Kinship Caregivers | Voter Election Fund | Lumen Field to Be Vaccination Station