City Awards Funding Dedicated to Kinship Caregivers

SEATTLE—The City of Seattle Human Services Department (HSD) is investing $191,500 in Kinship Caregiver Support Program (KCSP) to help people caring for their relatives. The Kinship Navigator, Kinship Collaboration Coordinator and Kinship Caregiver Support Program Services provide support for caregivers and the agencies that support them. Kinship care includes relatives caring for children age 18 or younger. Kinship caregivers, mostly grandparents, often struggle with the challenges of parenting a second family.

As part of the City’s Age-Friendly initiative and HSD’s commitment to promote healthy aging, the department is funding programs with the goal of 1) Reducing the physical and emotional stress experienced by kinship caregivers; 2) Addressing basic needs by increasing access to support, such as food, Medicare, TANF, etc.; 3) Improving the ability of kinship caregivers to experience stable health; and 4) Improve the ability of older adult kinship caregivers to age in place successfully.

“This funding helps us to build a healthier community by taking care of those who care for others, especially older individuals who may have already raised one family, said Catherine L. Lester, Director of HSD.

Neighborhood House, Encompass Northwest, and Renton Area Youth and Family Services will receive $76,194 collectively in funding for the Kinship Caregiver Support Program (KCPS)—which provides supportive services to kinship caregivers age 55 and older caring for a family member’s child. KCPS services are provided in a culturally appropriate manner in geographic areas where caregivers reside. All three awardees are current providers of this service, and have demonstrated a commitment to effectively serve target populations including African American, Alaska Native/American Indian and Hispanic/Latino.

Catholic Community Services will receive $115,306 in funding for both the Kinship Navigator and Kinship Collaboration Coordinator programs. The Kinship Navigator provides outreach and information about available resources and services to kinship caregivers age 18 and older who are caring for a family member’s child. The Kinship Navigator is the primary referral source to the Kinship Caregiver Support Program supplemental funds. These funds are available to kinship caregivers to help address emergent caregiver needs. The Kinship Collaboration Coordinator plays a vital role in bringing together caregivers, service providers and partner agencies with a unified goal of creating comprehensive services, advocacy, community outreach and education.

The contract period is from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018.

HSD announces $75,000 award to fund birth doula services for low income women

Seattle Human Services Department announces $75,000 award to fund birth doula services for low income women

Today, the Seattle Human Services Department (HSD) announced a $75,000 grant award to Open Arms Perinatal Services to fund birth doula services for low income women of color.

“Building strong and vibrant families and communities begins with creating an environment that supports a healthy start for all babies, said HSD Acting Director, Catherine Lester. “The funding announced today will fund birth doula services for 50 low income pregnant women and their newborns, who may also be immigrant, refugee, homeless, or have a limited ability to speak English.”

Birth Doulas will provide support to pregnant women before, during, and in the weeks following birth. Services include supportive home visits in the last trimester of pregnancy, attendance during labor and delivery, and postpartum home visits after babies are born. In working with vulnerable populations, Birth Doulas also serve as cultural and relational brokers with public health and other medical providers, social services, and government agencies.

This competitive award is a part of HSD’s continuous effort to institute performance-based investments and uses data to steer the department’s resources to nonprofits who demonstrate their ability to serve the community’s most in need.   HSD seeks to ensure the City’s finite resources are being directed to programs that can best leverage the investments for maximum impact on reducing disparities.

Since 1997, Open Arms Perinatal Services has been providing strong community-based support for women through pregnancy, birth and postpartum. Open Arms serves nearly 200 women each year, supporting and caring for low-income families at a pivotal time when the positive impact is most profound – and when the cost of being unsupported can be equally profound. One hundred percent of the women served are at or below 250% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

The Seattle Human Services Department is one of the largest contributors to Seattle’s safety net as it provides $99 million in funding through 522 contracts to nearly 200 agencies that support Seattle’s most vulnerable residents each year.  The department works closely with its community partners, including other public and nonprofit funders and service providers, to understand current and emerging human service needs, and to create and invest in a comprehensive and integrated regional human services system.

For more information about HSD Funding Opportunities and application materials, visit HSD’s Funding Opportunities webpage.


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Step Ahead Preschools Expand for 2014-2015 School Year

The Seattle Human Services Department today announced that Sound Child Care Solutions’ Hoa Mai Vietnamese Bilingual Preschool was awarded $229,972 in Families and Education Levy Step Ahead Preschool funding for 36 children. The program will open in Fall 2014 in the Mt. Baker neighborhood. Additional Step Ahead Preschool funds were also awarded for more children at three existing sites: Chinese Information and Service Center in the International District (8 children); Denise Louie Education Center in Beacon Hill ( 12 children) and Seed of Life Center for Early Learning and Preschool in Southeast Seattle (6 children). Funding award period is September 1, 2014 to August 31, 2015.

Help spread the word: FREE summer meals for kids

Summer is finally here! This is an especially busy time at HSD with programs ramping up for summer; as we all know, the need for human services programs is not related to the seasons of the year and summer presents our community with many unique challenges!

During the school year, thousands of Seattle Public Schools students receive free and reduced-price breakfast and lunch each day. However, when school lets out, many of these children face a higher risk for hunger, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Hunger can make children more prone to illness and other health issues.

Thanks to the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), thousands of Seattle children ages 1 through 18 will enjoy free, nutritious breakfasts, lunches and snacks this season. This program is a critical part of the fight against hunger and our efforts to make sure children have a fun, safe and healthy summer.

SFSP is designed to fill the nutrition gap during this annual break to make sure children continue to get the nutritious meals they need to maintain healthy lives. For too many, this program may be the only source of nutritious food the child will receive all day.

This summer we’re making a big push to get the word out to kids, teens and families, because the program is still under-utilized despite the fact that the meals for kids are free and located at over 100 sites in the community. Will you help us by telling your co-workers, agency contacts, neighbors, friends, and family members about this great free program at a location near you?

Click here to view the Kick-off flyer!

The Summer Food Service Program, formerly known as “Summer Sack Lunch”, is funded by the USDA and was established in 1968. The City of Seattle has operated this program in Seattle since the early 1970s.

Promoting summer feeding sites in your community is one of the most important things you can do to ensure no child goes hungry this summer. The more parents, children, and teenagers who know about where sites are located, the more children will come to eat. The program runs from Wednesday, June 25 through Friday, August 22, 2014. For more information and to find a meal site near you, please visit

Sen. Murray proposes summer food benefits for low-income kids

Nearly half of public school students in Washington state receive free or reduced-price breakfasts and lunches at school – about half a million children. But when school’s out for summer, it can be a struggle for low-income families to make their food budgets stretch.

Now U.S. Sen. Patty Murray is sponsoring a bill to give low-income families food benefits over the summer months so kids don’t go hungry.

Kids like Dara Kommavangsa’s two daughters, who attend Seattle Public Schools. Kommavangsa said during the school year, she counts on school breakfast and lunch for her kids and just makes them dinner.

But summers are tough.

Although there are free summer meals available at community centers and other sites, Kommavangsa said her daughters are among the 90 percent of low-income Washington children who don’t take advantage of the programs.

“Yes, there is a lot of summer meal program sites out there, but is it reachable, is the thing. If your parents aren’t there at home, how are you able to go to a site?” Kommavangsa said.

Instead, her family relies on food banks and their own garden to get enough to eat in the summer months.

Click here to read more of the press release about Senator Murray’s proposal…