Kinship Care: When you’re the guardian of young children

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Kinship care refers to a situation in which a relative (or longstanding family friend) of a child temporarily or permanently takes over their full-time care. Many grandparents provide kinship care. According to The Ohio State University, up to 100,000 Ohio grandparents are currently raising their grandchildren.

Lorain County Public Health (LCPH) offers support to grandparents and others offering kinship care. Legal guardians may access all of our services for the children they care for. If you’re providing kinship care, call us and we’ll help you get the services the child needs.

WIC: Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is a federal nutrition education program. WIC provides supplemental foods that promote good health for pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women, and infants and children up to age five. Grandparents caring for young children may be able to get extra healthy foods for them, based on the advice of a dietitian. If you care for children under five and want to check if they’re eligible for WIC, call 440-323-7320.

Car seat program: Car seats and booster seats cost $25 for Lorain County residents who meet income guidelines. Guardians attend a required information session where a certified car seat technician helps caregivers install the seat safely. Call 440-322-6367 for more information, or visit LorainCountyHealth.com/carseats to make an appointment online.

Childhood vaccines: LCPH offers all recommended childhood vaccines. Request a child’s vaccine record at LorainCountyHealth.com/vaccines. Then, call 440-284-3206 to chat with a nurse about which vaccines the child needs. LCPH takes many kinds of insurances, and we work with you to make vaccines affordable for your situation. COVID-19 vaccines are now available for everyone over 6 months old, and they are always free.

Neighborhood Navigator program: Neighborhood Navigators can help anyone taking care of a baby up to one year old. They can help you find housing, food assistance, baby items and more. Visit LorainCountyHealth.com/newbaby to learn more, or call or text 440-201-4395.

Offering kinship care may feel like parenting “a second time,” yet this responsibility can have a huge positive impact on a child. Grandparents and others offering children a safe, stable home is valuable support. The sense of belonging they provide also supports a child’s long-term health and sets a child up for a healthy future. To find more support with kinship care, visit ohiokan.jfs.ohio.gov or call 1-844-644-6526.

Pumpkin Chili
If you care for picky eaters, add a new vegetable to this fall favorite. This recipe is easy to freeze in bags, jars, or containers for a quick meal later.
1 pound ground beef or turkey
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 (15 oz.) can pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 (15 oz.) cans beans, your choice
1 (24 oz.) can diced tomatoes
Brown the ground meat in a soup pot. Add the onion and pepper. Then add the chili powder, cumin, and garlic powder. Stir and let the flavors meld. Dump in the can of pumpkin; stir to combine. Dump in the beans and tomatoes; stir to combine. Cook the chili on medium-low heat for at least 30 minutes.
Slow cooker option: Brown the meat in a pan. Add all the ingredients to a 4.5-quart slow cooker, and cook on low for 8 hours.