The Kinship Program

The Kinship Program has knowledgeable and empathetic staff that can help connect kinship families with a variety of supports and services. AFFM’s Kinship Specialists are certified Grandfamilies Leaders and can assist families in navigating an array of systems that can be difficult to manage while working through divided family loyalties and the day-to-day care for the children in their home.

Kinship Providers may be grandparents, aunts, uncles, family members, or family friends raising children.

AFFM knows these relationships can often be stressful. As a neutral observer with years of experience, AFFM knows how to assist families with meeting their basic needs, systems navigation, family dynamics, child behaviors, and a variety of other situations faced by kinship families. Kinship families need accurate and compassionate advice during this time. If this is your family or you know a family experiencing a difficult time, call AFFM. 207-827-2331.

The Kinship Program Strives to:

  • Educate kinship caregivers about resources and support.
  • Provide kinship caregivers with referrals to appropriate services.
  • Help establish and maintain relationships between kinship caregivers and their formal supports.
  • Increase kinship families’ access to services
  • Reduced kin child abuse and neglect allegations and substantiations
  • Increase kinship placement stability
  • Increase caregiver well-being. 
  • Provide a voice for kinship families at community collaborative meetings.
  • Educate policy writers, lawmakers, and the public at large about supports and resources needed for kinship caregivers.

Kinship Program Supports

As a relative raising a relative’s child/children you may find yourself needing some support.

For Kinship Families who are licensed or becoming licensed through the DHHS Office of Child and Family Services to become a licensed kinship provider (also known as a licensed foster home or formal kinship provider) will benefit from the support on the Foster Parent Resources page.

This is an overview of the services AFFM provides. Supports are continuously being developed. If you have an idea of a support service that would be useful to you and your family please feel comfortable sharing it with AFFM

Additional Resources and Organizations That Support Kinship Families

211 is a free, confidential information and referral service that connects people of all ages across Maine to local services. 211 Maine is based in Maine and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our Specialists are trained and friendly; they know we all need help sometimes. You can access their database by calling 211 or by clicking here for their website.

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps keep families safe and healthy through initiatives that assist families with energy costs. We provide federally funded assistance in managing costs associated with: home energy bills, energy crises, weatherization, and energy-related minor home repairs.

LIHEAP can help you stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer through programs that reduce the risk of health and safety problems that arise from unsafe heating and cooling practices.

If you can’t afford to pay for medical care right now, MaineCare can make it possible for you to get the care that you need so that you can get healthy – and stay healthy. Click here for more information about MaineCare or to get a MaineCare application.

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides Federal grants to States for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk. For more information about WIC and how to apply please click here.

Through support, education, and advocacy NAMI Maine is dedicated to building better lives for the 1 in 4 Mainers who are affected by mental illness. NAMI Maine offers respite services to eligible families. Check out their website ( ) for more information.

Benefits of Receiving Respite

  • Families receive up to 16 hours of caregiver support each month
  • Planned breaks offered by a provider network, trained to serve children with disabilities and special needs
  • Action plans are developed for each child to support any current action or treatment plan
  • Families choose providers from an online directory of comprehensive profiles
  • Other family members, friends, and neighbors with an existing connection to approved children are encouraged to become certified providers

Program Eligibility

  • Each child must be under the age of 18 years old and be diagnosed with:
  • Two or more significant delays (6-months) in areas of development; or
  • An emotional disability; or
  • A behavioral disability

Please click here to learn more about NAMI-Maine’s Respite Program

National Resources

Generations United’s National Center on Grandfamilies works to enact policies and promote programs to help grandfamilies address challenges. Our work is informed by a national network of grandfamily caregivers. For information on existing state laws and policies affecting grandfamilies visit the Grandfamilies State Law and Policy Resource Center at serves as a national legal resource in support of grandfamilies within and outside the child welfare system. Their goals are to:

  • educate individuals about state laws, legislation, and policy in support of grandfamilies
  • assist interested policymakers, advocates, caregivers, and attorneys in exploring policy options to support relatives and the children in their care
  • provide technical assistance and training

The ABA is the largest voluntary professional association in the world with nearly 400,000 members. The ABA Center on Children and the Law improves children’s lives through advances in law, justice, knowledge, practice, and public policy by focusing on child abuse and neglect, child welfare and protective services system enhancement, family preservation, adolescent health, and other children protective legal issues.

ABA Center on Children and the Law’s contact for is Heidi Redlich Epstein, JD, MSW