Lake Michigan College hosts Kinship Care Conference

BENTON HARBOR — A free Kinship Care Conference will be hosted on March 9 at the Lake Michigan College Benton Harbor campus.

Kinship care refers to when grandparents and other relatives step in to raise children because parents are unable. While not a new phenomenon, or one unique to the United States, kinship care is on the rise, with 194,878 Michigan children recorded in the 2010 census as living in households away from their parents.

Common causes for separation stem from mental or physical illness, poverty, incarceration, death or deployment in the military. The burden on caregivers can be great, as is often the psychological and physical toll on children.

Conference organizers aim to educate human service professionals and community members about the cultural, legal, medical and psychological issues related to kinship care, and to promote services that support caregivers and ensure the safety of children who are in need of care and protection.

The keynote speaker will be international expert and scholar in residence, Dr. Jill Worrall of Auckland, New Zealand.

Conference topics include “Cultural Competence in Kinship Care” by Western Michigan University Professor, Marian Tripplett; “Family Members Aging? Who Cares?” by Grand Valley State University Professor Dr. Priscilla Kimboko; “Legal Concerns in Kinship Care,” by Attorney for Berrien County Guardian Ad Litem, Elizabeth McCree; and “Two Voices – A Comparison on Caregiving,” by Rev. Dr. Denise Kingdom Grier and Dr. Jill Worrall.

The conference is free of charge and a box lunch will be provided to all attendees. It will be hosted from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the D-Wing of LMC’s Benton Harbor Campus at 2755 E. Napier Avenue.

The conference is organized by the Lake Michigan College Sociology Department and sponsored by a grant from the Lake Michigan College Foundation. It is the last in a series of four kinship care events scheduled throughout Southwest Michigan.

To RSVP, or for more information, contact Dr. Michelle Stone at stone@lakemichigancollege.edu or (269) 487-8462.

For more information, visit lakemichgiancollege.edu.

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