Seven years ago, Rosa got word that her daughter Ysabel’s six young children were being left alone at home. Rosa had been helping care for her grandchildren, but in a moment of anger six months earlier, Ysabel had ordered Rosa out. “Ysabel used to be a great mom,” Rosa says. “But her husband started beating her and then left her. She started doing drugs.” Rosa prayed, “Please bring her to my door. Have her ask me to care for the kids.” Rosa’s prayer was answered. Juan Manuel, Christian, Noah, Elizabeth, Bella and Victoria came to live with her.
Rosa became a kinship caregiver—a relative or close family friend who steps up to raise children to avoid the trauma of separation from their birth family. Lilliput, a part of Wayfinder, supports kinship
families, particularly those like Rosa’s that form without the assistance of a child welfare agency. In those cases, kinship providers do not receive state funds to cover children’s basic needs.
“Rosa is in a peculiar situation because she doesn’t get any public funds for the kids,” says Tania Fuentes, Wayfinder social worker. “We’ve had to think outside the box to help her.”
Wayfinder helped Rosa find a larger rental home and paid the security deposit. Tania assisted Rosa with paperwork for family court. “I call them angels. I never have had so much help with the kids,” says Rosa. “They ask what I need. That means a lot.”
To manage a household of eight children, ages 19 years to 18 months, Rosa has established routines. The older children help care for the younger ones, and everyone works together. “Rosa is super resilient,” says Tania. “She is loving and caring. She puts others first before herself.”
To Rosa, raising her grandchildren is a gift. “I tell them, I am so blessed to have you with me, to see you at night when you’re sleepy,” Rosa says. “I get to cover you with a blanket and give you a kiss goodnight.”
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December 16, 2020