CCE has been involved in programming addressing relative caregiving (kinship care) for well over a decade.
Ontario County (Isabelle Doran - Jensen) was the first county formally involved - developed a series of kinship care educational seminars.
Orange County (Denyse A. Variano) entered the picture in 1998, when we received funding ($10,000 over 2 years - seed money) from the Brookdale Foundation to initiate an educational program specific to kincare needs in three locations which would include a wrap around support group .
Broome County (Jan Cohen) had previously partnered with the NYSOFA to develop a curriculum specific to Grandparents raising children with developmental disabilities, which is still used widely today. In 2000, these three counties partnered with the
Human Development faculty (Susan Hicks, Jennifer Birckmayer, Herb Engman) to develop, implement and evaluate - Parenting the Second Time Around (PASTA). This user -friendly curriculum is a six week workshop series designed to address the specific needs of grandparent and relative caregivers who are parenting again. (Please note - also suitable for those relative caregivers who are parenting the first time around!)
County Involvement: Since the inception of the PASTA curriculum, two trainings have been held as part of the Parenting Education Professional Development Project, with leadership provided by Josephine Swanson and Jennifer Birckmayer. Extension educators from Orange and Ontario were involved in the planning and implementation of both trainings; Broome County was also involved in the first training. In 2003, this curriculum won first place for Educational Curriculum Package through the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences.
PASTA Professional Trainings
Panelists present at the above workshops included representatives from Cornell (Karl Pillemer, Rachel Dunifon), NYSOFA (Carmen Cunningham), NYSOCFS (Robert Resnick) and the Brookdale Center on Aging of Hunter College (Gerard Wallace.)
PASTA Consumer Workshops - Statewide - 10 Extension educators responded to my query re: involvement in programming for Kinship Care families. The majority have received formal training in the use of PASTA, and have offered at least one complete series: Orange , Ontario , Broome, Otsego, Wayne, Warren and Washington. Dutchess has a series scheduled for the fall. Those who have not offered a PASTA series yet (Schenectady, Albany, Nassau, Suffolk) have begun to establish relative caregiver networks in the counties, and are interested in obtaining funding to offer more formal services.
State and National Trainings - An introductory overview of the PASTA program was provided at multiple state and national conferences beginning in 2001. At the Brookdale Training Conference in 2001, additional pilot sites were recruited for the initial program trial - including, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Connecticut and Wisconsin. Educators from both Ontario and Orange County have presented numerous times at the Brookdale National Training Conference. In 2004, Orange educators will present at five of their workshops, and be represented on the opening panel.
Statewide Coalitions, Funding and Presentations - Two representatives from the RAPP Program in Orange County currently sit on the NYS Kincare Coalition, co-sponsored by AARP (Beth Finkel), NYSOFA (Elaine Richter) and Gerard Wallace, J.D., Consultant (contributor of legal workshop for PASTA.) There is mutual interest in Rachel Dunifon becoming a member of this Coalition.
In March 2004, Ontario and Orange County Extension educators presented on kinship care as part of the Caregiver Forum series for the NYS Association of Area Agencies on Aging as they made a statewide training tour re: senior caregiving issues. Well over 200 professionals were trained at 4 statewide locations - Rochester, Syracuse, Albany and Rockland.
Currently, three Counties in NYS receive funding from the Brookdale Foundation for start up programs including educational and support services - Tioga, Ontario/Wayne and Orange (2nd award - Hispanic initiative.) Ontario was previously the secondary grantee on a Brookdale award, aimed at providing legal services.
Several additional counties have begun to access Title IIIE funds, through their local Office for the Aging, to operate kinship care programs and/or provide distinct services to relative caregivers. These Counties include: Orange, Dutchess, Ontario/Wayne, and others yet unidentified.
PASTA Consumer Workshops
Following the piloting of the PASTA curriculum, revisions were made and PASTA was released for printing and distribution in the fall of 2002. Printing was made possible by a grant through the Older Americans Act Award through the United States Administration on Aging, the New York State Office for the Aging, and the Orange County Office for the Aging.
Of the fifteen (15) counties trained in the use of the PASTA curriculum, seven (7) are known to have used it to date. In addition, copies have been purchased for use in over 24 states, with some, ie. Missouri and Virginia intending to use it state-wide.
Professional Training Opportunities
While the authors of Parenting the Second Time Around (PASTA) have designed the program to be "user-friendly", it is strongly recommended that this program be taught/facilitated by those with a firm background in child development, parenting, kinship care and adult education. For those wishing to receive formal training, Cornell University Cooperative Extension is pleased to offer several professional training options. For more information please contact: Denyse A. Variano at firstname.lastname@example.org
In Orange County, over 15% of the identified kincare population (1,904) is now serviced through the RAPP program (In 1998, 8 adult participants.) Both adult and youth services (in collaboration with 4-H) are offered at three locations each month. Educational workshops, special events, recreational activities and learning seminars complement the support programs. Through the Help for Caretaker Relative Award from the NYSOFCS , expanded services have been available free of charge since May 2002: legal consultation, family and youth counseling, mediation, financial counseling, nutrition education, school advocacy and respite care. These services are now in jeopardy as funding for this program has not been included in the Governor's budget for 2005.
A total of 263 adults and 172 youth (ages 8mo. - 18 years) participate in the RAPP Program in Orange County . Of this number, 46 adult participants attended one of two series of the six session PASTA program. Of these participants, 31 completed four or more workshops in the series.
Impact statements for participation in RAPP and PASTA include:
"I found I am not alone with what's going on in my family life."
"Every bit of the information has been useful - legal information especially!"
"I now have the knowledge to help my grandson and myself."
"It helped me be more understanding with my grandchildren."
"The first workshop, helped me to deal with my own frustrations as a grandparent caregiver.
"I liked the way discipline was explained. I tried some of the suggestions and they helped."
"I learned how to stand up for my rights in the 5th workshop - this gave me hope that we will be heard."
"Thank you for giving us info that we might not take the time to inquire about on our own."
"Thank you for letting me know that there are others in my situation and there is support and help."
"I pulled information that was applicable with the niece my wife and I are raising."
"Many of the workshops could be longer; more time to discuss topics and share ideas would be nice."
The curriculum is being used in 24 states. In 2003 it was awarded National First Place for Educational Curriculum Package by the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences at the annual session in Salt Lake City Utah.