Minnesota Kinship Caregivers Now Have Greater Support Through LSS

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Minnesota Kinship Caregivers Now Have Greater Support Through LSS

Minnesota caregivers raising a relative’s or friend’s child now have access to greater support through Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota (LSS) Kinship Family Support Services. Originally available in the metro area only, LSS has expanded kinship support services to communities statewide. This includes a warmline, one-to-one support and educational trainings and groups to assist in navigating complex financial, legal, medical and mental health systems.

There are many reasons why someone might become a kinship caregiver: death of a parent, parental illness, substance abuse and incarceration. In Minnesota, there are more than 79,000 children living in kinship environments where a parent isn’t present. For many kinship caregivers, finding themselves in this situation can be both surprising and stressful. What are their options, and who do they turn to with questions? 

“Kinship caregiving can happen to anyone. At any point in our lives, we may be asked to care for a child,” said Janet Salo, LSS kinship navigator.

Having access to the necessary resources and support to navigate any questions that arise is crucial to ensuring a child’s safety and stability. Unfortunately, in smaller communities, these types of resources are often unavailable. To address this, LSS has teamed up with the Minnesota Department of Human Services and Trellis to increase capacity and bring these much-needed services across Minnesota.

“Our goal with Kinship Family Support Services is to provide supports that meet the needs and strengths of kinship caregivers and the children they are caring for,” Salo said.

Kinship caregivers have appreciated receiving guidance and direction when they needed it most. “I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t been hooked up with LSS eight years ago,” said one kinship caregiver. Another said, “Please keep doing exactly what you are doing, supporting children and kin.”

Caregivers throughout Minnesota can be referred to this service through schools, medical professionals, local shelters and other organizations. They can also reach LSS Kinship Family Support Services directly via their warmline at 877.917.4640 which connects caregivers to individualized support, including:

  • Connections to financial, medical and legal options.
  • Assistance in navigating county financial benefits and mental health and disability-related services.
  • Access to peer-to-peer support groups, educational workshops and online learning opportunities.

“What I love about working with the kinship team is the opportunity to give families the tools, support and resources they need to stabilize and to provide safety and support to a child or children in need,” said LSS Kinship Navigator, Brandy Green.

For more information, please contact LSS Kinship Family Support Services by calling their warmline at 877.917.4640, by emailing or by visiting their website