Who are your kin?
For a child in foster care, this straightforward question is anything but simple.
SVP’s newly-selected Investee, Kinnect, recognizes the importance of kin to children who are temporarily separated from their families. Kinnect honors the fact that “each of us relies on a network of chosen family—blood relatives, close friends, and other loved ones—who support us physically, emotionally, and financially.” Building on this guiding principle, Kinnect’s programs and partnerships help to create permanency and stability for children in foster care by creating “kinnections” with the people whom the children, themselves, consider to be their kin, as well as every other kinnection who can be identified through extensive investigation.
Kinnect’s goal is to “develop partnerships that transform beliefs, values, and actions to achieve permanency for all children in the shortest time possible.” It believes that “childhood is a fundamental human right and that every day for a child in foster care is a day in crisis.” Together with children, families, agencies, and other resources, it works to create a world where “every child is loved and nurtured in a permanent, chosen family.”
Kinnect has a multipart vision for the child welfare system in Ohio. It conceives of a system where foster care is a temporary or short-term option; children and families are empowered to find solutions to the problems they face; direct service providers and social workers can establish and maintain a culture of innovation and excellence; and all stakeholders prioritize permanency in each decision made on behalf of a child and their family. Kinnect’s programs include 30 Days to Family® Ohio, Chosen Affirming Family, County Partnerships, and Ohio Kinship and Navigator Adoption Development Program (OhioKAN).
In May, SVP selected Kinnect to be its newest Investee which includes up to three years of unrestricted grant funding and the collaborative consulting support of SVP Partners. Kinnect’s co-founder and executive director, Mike Kenney, said, “The opportunity to partner with SVP is going to have a compounding impact on our ability to ensure that all children leave foster care to go to a permanent family in the shortest time possible.”
Co-leading the engagement are SVP Partners Katie Keane and Megan Patton. Among the many factors that went into the selection of Kinnect as an Investee, Katie shared that she feels SVP’s growing commitment to equity played a key role. She explained, “Kinnect’s mission and focus on a population faced with inequity at every turn energized our Partners. Kinnect is committed to changing the foster care system from the inside out. Through this investment and partnership with Kinnect, SVP will support the important work of children achieving permanency. The partnership will strengthen Kinnect to achieve greater impact in our community, as both our organization and Kinnect strive for equity for all.”
Also excited about the engagement, Megan expressed, “I am looking forward to working with Kinnect. Being able to tap into the incredible talent pool of SVP Partners will allow us to bring top-level thinking to the ongoing growth of Kinnect. The difference this organization makes in the lives of children—connecting them with ‘kin’—fundamentally changes the trajectory of their lives.”