DC KinCare Alliance’s mission is to help economically challenged relatives who raise vulnerable children from DC’s poorest neighborhoods in times of crisis when their parents are unable to care for them. This DC kinship family phenomenon is increasing at an alarming rate due to COVID-19, gun violence, the opioid epidemic, mass incarceration, untreated mental illness in DC’s low-income Black community, and detention and deportation of parents in DC’s low-income immigrant community. Most of the children living with these relatives have experienced significant trauma. Relative caregivers need legal representation to secure their rights to raise these children and obtain the financial benefits to which they are entitled. DC KinCare Alliance is the only organization in DC focused solely on serving relative caregivers and the children they raise.
Through their Legal Defense Project, they provide free legal help to relative caregivers raising at-risk DC children through: (a) legal representation in custody and related DC court cases; (b) brief legal advice by phone, at our weekly court clinic (once it is safe to do so), and at other community locations virtually and in person (once it is safe to do so); and (c) legal education and support groups.
In 2020, DC KinCare Alliance helped grandmothers like Brenda get custody of her 8-month-old granddaughter Kayla. Kayla’s teenage mother ran away and her father is incarcerated for trying to kill Kayla’s mother. They also helped great-grandmothers like Delores maintain a safe and stable home for her three great grandchildren after their mother died in a car accident and their father could not care for them because of serious mental health issues.
DC KinCare Alliance is proud of their successful advocacy efforts to bring about systemic change for racial and economic equity in DC. Their Relative Caregiver Community Advisory Board, currently made up of 17 members raising 20 DC children, has been instrumental in identifying issues that require attention and ways to address them.
"The Women's Bar Association Foundation has made it possible for DC KinCare Alliance to help these DC kinship families through our KinCare Legal Defense Project, especially during the COVID-19 public health emergency when their needs have become even more acute,” said Executive Director Marla Spindel. “We appreciate that the Women’s Bar Association Foundation prioritizes funding to newer and smaller organizations like DC KinCare Alliance, where the impact of the Foundation’s support is direct and measurable.”