Raising Special Needs Children KIN VIP Support Group (Launching February 29, 2024)


KINSHIP Virtual Support Groups are offered at no cost.

Meets Thursday evenings 4:30 PM–5:30 PM EST via Zoom

This group will begin meeting on February 29, 2024 at 4:30 pm EST.

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Caring for a kinship child with special needs such as behavioral or developmental needs, can be both exhausting and challenging simultaneously for caregivers. Whether you are caring for a child with autism, learning disability, behavioral disorder, etc., navigating busy schedules full of appointments while caring for your child’s needs can leave caregivers very tired and very stressed.  For Kinship parents, who may have had to assume care for a special needs child quickly and with little preparation, this can result in unexpected changes to your family routine or even family relationships.

If you are caring for a child with a behavioral or developmental need and would like a place where you can find support and resources, consider joining us for a special pilot group designed to offer kinship caregivers encouragement, ideas, resources, and community.

This new KIN VIP Support Group will begin as a weekly 12-week pilot Support Group, offering participants a chance to get to know each other.

The group is completely free and available to any caregiver raising a relative or fictive kin child.

For all those who attend at least 10 of the 12 sessions and complete a survey review of the group, a financial incentive is available!

Contact Sheila Rentfrow at sheila.rentfrow@uky.edu for more information, or sign up here to secure your spot!


About the Facilitator:

Judy Russell grew up in Richmond, KY and was raised by her great grandmother from infancy when her grandmother was 70 years old.  In her mid 20’s, she became the kinship caregiver to her sister’s three children, whom she later adopted.  Professionally, Judy has worked for the Department for Community Based Services for 12 years in child welfare and adult protective services, followed by her work at a high school for 10 years as a school social worker, working with teens who were struggling with anxiety, depression, trauma, and school attendance. 

Currently, Judy works at an elementary school as the District Mental Health Specialist, providing mental health counseling supports to children.  Judy is familiar with the many of the struggles and dilemmas that kinship caregivers must face and hopes that her experiences can benefit others as they provide support to the children in their care.