Gr8 Inspiration: Program keeps families together when child placed in foster care

Tampa, Fla. (WFLA) - When a child is put into foster care, many times they are separated from their siblings.  That relationship, many times is the backbone of otherwise broken families.    

"That would just be more trauma, more loss.  You're already ripping them away from everything they know and placing them with strangers, I'm not saying those people can't do a good job, but it's better if you can keep siblings together," said Tena Randecker of KinShip Services, an arm of the Children's Home Network.     

Kinship is a program available to family members caring for a relative's child or children in Hillsborough, Orange, Osceola, Pasco, Pinellas and Seminole counties. It helps families connect to necessary services, expand family support systems, and reduce stress to promote family stability.

Many families don't even know the support is there.

"I like being able to make sure that the families know they are eligible for cash assistance, some are eligible for food stamps, make sure the kids have the medical and if they need mental health counseling, get it for them.  We also work to to connect them to support groups," said Randecker.

Tena Randecker knows all too well how important these services are, because she and her husband took in children from a distant relative.

"It's not always easy, but we are family and that's what you do," said Randecker.     

Randecker believes with more awareness, siblings can stay together, which in her opinion, will help to create a better life for children at risk of being placed in foster care.

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