Many lives have been devastated as the opioid crisis has created ripple effects through communities and families. Many parents and family members of people affected by addiction have altered their lives to care for their loved-one’s children. We refer to these people as Kinship Caregivers. Various resources are available to support these Kinship Caregivers as they step into roles they had not expected to fill at this stage of their lives.
New Hampshire Children’s Trust and New Hampshire’s network of Family Resource Centers have partnered to support kinship families through the statewide Kinship Navigation Program.
Upper Valley Kinship Navigator
In the Upper Valley, Waypoint Family Resource Center provides the Upper Valley with services that are “community-based and designed to strengthen and support the wellbeing of kinship caregivers, children, and their families. The program is free, voluntary, and confidential and links kinship caregivers with state benefits, community resources, information and referrals, and offers supports such as food assistance, gas to get to appointments, school supplies, legal aid, additional financial assistance, and much more.” (From New Hampshire Children’s Trust website)
Step Up Parents Fills Financial Gaps for Kinship Caregivers
Step Up Parents began operation in 2019, inspired by close personal friends of the founder who were raising their granddaughter while caring for their daughter who struggles with substance use disorder. Their daily emotional and financial challenges were daunting, and there seemed to be little in the way of available resources. They were not alone in their struggles. With the explosion of the opioid crisis, there are thousands of “kinship” families in New Hampshire. No one plans on raising a second, sometimes third, family. What began as a call to action to help one New Hampshire family is now a safety net for kinship caregivers throughout the state. Step Up Parents is dedicated to supporting and honoring these everyday heroes, preserving their dignity and stability, and responding to their families’ immediate needs.
Step Up Parents offers financial assistance to New Hampshire grandparents and other relative caregivers who have stepped up to raise the children of parents struggling with substance use disorder. They fill gaps in household budgets and respond to a family’s immediate financial needs. By assisting caregivers who are raising children deeply impacted by parental addiction, they give more than monetary support— they give hope and remind the caregivers that they are not alone. Step Up Parents destigmatizes substance misuse and provides a safe forum in which caregivers can ask for help. Step Up Parents believes that “even heroes need a hand.”
How to Apply for Support from Step Up Parents
People may apply directly or a social worker or case worker may apply on their behalf. Typically, Step Up Parents responds to an application within 24 hours. They try to make funding decisions and distribute within 48 hours. They do not give money directly to families but pay vendors and service providers directly on their behalf or supply a gift card for requested items. For more information, please visit www.stepupparents.org, call 603-319-4739, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.