Kids and Kin Program to recognize participants in May

Published 9:15 am Saturday, April 2, 2022

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Kids and Kin sponsored by the Family Guidance Center of Alabama will recognize the program’s participants at the ACES building on Friday, May 13 from 10 a.m. until noon.

“Kids and Kin is an FPEE statewide program to provide support and assistance for grandparents, aunts, uncles, and older siblings who provide child care for their relatives’ children,” Child Care Partner Christy Ainsworth said.

Kids and Kin Program Director Kathy Camp added that a statewide advisory committee was formed in 1999. Seven pilot areas were selected in rural and urban areas in 2000, which included Jefferson, Montgomery, Tuscaloosa, Mobile, Crenshaw, Macon, Sumter, and Marengo counties.

“Local advisory committees were formed in each pilot area. Six new counties were added in 2002, and Covington County was one of 13 additional counties added in 2004. By 2009, the total number of counties served was 34. The Kids and Kin Program expanded to offer trainings in all 67 counties in 2016,” Camp said.

Ainsworth is responsible for Covington, Barbour, Bullock, and Pike counties.

“Participants have the opportunity to attend two trainings each month, where they learn from experts about a wide range of topics in a small supportive group at each training. Kids and Kin groups are fun, educational, and beneficial for today’s childcare provider. We have educational workshops, child development, positive discipline and guidance, language development, health and safety, first aid and CPR, and more. There are events for providers and children. We issue a quarterly newsletter and gain support from other relative providers with connections to community resources. At our annual Provider Recognition Day, participants will have an opportunity to receive up to $150 in free toys and educational materials, their choice of a smoke alarm, carbon monoxide detector, or first aid kit, free children’s books, and door prizes,” she said.

As a native and alumna of Andalusia, Ainsworth felt it was an honor to represent Kids and Kin. “I am grateful to our local relative care providers in my own community. Offering training to adult relative care providers enables them to gain knowledge through state-approved educational trainings. Knowing I have helped one single relative care provider is rewarding in itself. Taking home a small piece of newly learned information could reduce their day-to-day challenges and have a lifetime impact on the children in their care.”

For those interested in helping contribute to Kids and Kin, Ainsworth said free trainings are offered twice a month. “Send all the grandmas, aunts, uncles, and RCPs to get your grandbabies some free books. Each May, we recognize the providers with an annual celebration for their hard work in the previous year. Please contact me if you would like to make a donation. I have contacted some local organizations already for this May and am awaiting a response.”

According to Ainsworth, children are allowed at the workshops if you are caring for them but want to come. “Classes are PowerPoint presentations, and participants will receive a two-hour certificate of state-approved training. We offer CPR and first aid annually free of charge to participants.”

The ACES building is located at 23952 Alabama Highway 55, Suite 4, across the street from the Covington County Health Department near the Covington Arena. Hours of operation are Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. They can be reached at 334-222-1125.

“We will have our first face-to-face meeting since COVID on Friday, April 8. Please call or text me at 334-465-0101 if you have any questions. We thank everyone for your support and look forward to seeing you soon,” Ainsworth said.