Click on the “+” sign to learn more about that specific topic


OHA Grant Announcement - Press Release

The Village for RI Foster and Adoptive Families and The Heart Tree receive Grant for Caregivers 55+ PROVIDENCE, RI—The Village for RI Foster and Adoptive Families (The Village) in collaboration with The Heart Tree announced today the awarding of a new grant through the RI Office of Healthy Aging (RIOHA). This grant is designed to reach out to a diverse community of kinship, grandparents and other caregivers, 55 years of age and older in Rhode Island, caring for a child(ren) under the age of 18, and to connect them with all of the supports and resources available to them.

The Village, since 2016, has supported the development and maintenance of a robust network of healthy, committed, and well-trained resource families. Referred to as kinship families, these consist of relatives and friends caring for children in RI needing out-of-home care, as in cases where they have been removed from their parent(s). The Heart Tree, since 2021, has provided services to effectively connect with the Spanish-speaking community and to connect families in a culturally appropriate manner.

As foster and adoptive parents themselves, both organizations offer front-line, experienced support to kinship caregivers, who open their hearts and homes, but who need resources, equipment, and practical support in meeting their new parenting challenges, as well as in navigating the Family court system, the Department of Children Youth & Families (DCYF), and various state agencies.

The plan for this new initiative is to outreach to grandparents and other caregivers over the age of 55, who may or may not be involved with DCYF, to provide them with information, resources and support to improve the well-being of children they are caring for. It includes a multi-faceted effort, in person and online activities, and incorporating traditional print broadcast, digital and social media communication and training. Also included are scheduled family events, informational meetings and exhibit tables at community festivals and events.

According to program director, Sue Babin, “our goal is to connect with existing and potential caregivers of children in as many ways and places as possible. We can help with critical services, supports, and provide easy access to invaluable resources, along with an organized community of other kinship and over 55+ caregivers in RI already in place.”

Lilliam Abreu, program coordinator for The Heart Tree adds, “with this grant we have the opportunity to reach out to and to provide the same practical assistance, tools and family activities for Spanish speaking foster families.”

To expand the outreach effort, The Village and The Heart Tree plan to collaborate with such community partners as RI Coalition for Children, The Point, YMCA’s, Family Care Community Partnerships, RIPIN, Families and the Family Advisory Council of DCYF, Progreso Latino and others to enlist the best strategies, and their constituents and ask members to share information with constituents and members to reach out to other families.

Program planning and activities begin June 15, 2022; the scheduled date of service completion is September 23, 2023. For further information about the grant, as well as resources or assistance for grandparents and older kinship caregivers (55+), please call (English), 401.481.5483, visit: or email [email protected]. For information in Spanish: 401.779.0770 or visit

# # #

The Village for RI’s Foster and Adoptive Families

The Village incorporated in March 2016 as RI’s only foster/adoptive family founded and governed support organization. The Mission of The Village is to contribute to the development and maintenance of a robust network of healthy, committed, and well-trained resource families for children needing out of home care.

The Heart Tree

The purpose of this organization is to help Spanish speaking foster, adoptive and kinship families through support groups, mentoring, resources, education, and guidance. We provide education, coaching and training courses for this underserved population, cultural competence, and rendering service fully in Spanish. This organization’s mission is to create alliances between Spanish speaking foster, adoptive and kinship families.

** MOST RECENT ** - Gramping & Pampering Event (Video), for Kinship Caregivers age 55+ and their families

The Village for RI Foster and Adoptive Families, in collaboration with The Heart Tree, hosts a Gramping & Pampering Event for Kinship Caregivers age 55+ and their families at Westwood YMCA in Covemtry, RI (sponsored by The RI Office of Healthy Aging).

Click on the link below to watch the video and view the day’s activities.




WADK Newport RI - Radio Recording

The Village for RI Foster and Adoptive Families was recently featured on WADK, Newport, RI’s talk radio Elder Affairs feature with host, Catherine Taylor, the RI State Director from AARP.

Click the link below to listen to information related to this grant and resources that are available for Kinship Caregivers and Caregivers over the age of 55.

RI Kinship Community Connections Launches Website - Press Release
Providence, RI – A new website has recently launched to help support those raising someone else’s child in  
Rhode Island.  In RI alone, there are more than 4,600 grandparents, relatives, family friends or others – such as coaches or teachers – acting as kinship families. The announcement was made today by The Village for RI Foster and Adoptive Families in collaboration with The Heart Tree (their Hispanic language and culture 
The new site is a direct result of grant received from the RI Office of Healthy Aging (RIOHA), and designed to support a diverse community of kinship, grandparents, and other caregivers, ages 55 and older. 
The website provides: 
Local and national information and resources, with a section exclusively for caregivers who are 55+.  
News, events, and a calendar build an active and supportive community of kinship families 
Functionality to translate the site to a viewer’s preferred language with a single click.  
A blog that shares heartfelt and challenging experiences, featuring the perspective and practical 
support of other kinship families.  
Video training and discussion guides to assist families coping with the daily challenges and family 
A direct link to OHA to help older Rhode Islanders live happy, healthy lives. 
“For the safety and well-being of children, we are focused on building this community of support for those 
who may not know what is available to them,” notes Shannon Dos Santos, project director. “We share practical resources, valuable information and discounts.  We also encourage families to get involved in a system of support with other kinship families who have experienced the same challenges.  Without support, kinship families may become overwhlemed.   
“Creating awareness of available resources and supports for kinship families can help support the stability of the family” adds chairman of the board, Sue Babin. We are focused on developing easy access to support in 
one convenient location and to sharing the message to as many individuals and groups as possible.” 
Support at the national level is building as the need for resources and information continues to grow. Rhode 
Island has begun its grassroots efforts while hoping for additional grants, funding, and support as soon as 
Support at the national level is building as the need for resources and information continues to grow. Rhode Island has begun its grassroots efforts while hoping for additional grants, funding, and support as soon as 
Kinship families are beginning to get the recognition that they deserve for providing care for children 
when their parents are unable to do so. 
AARP, RI State Director – Catherine Taylor & The Village Project Coordinator – Shannon Dos Santos on info and resources for Caregivers Age 55+

This episode of “It Takes A Village” discusses Kinship Community Connections for older caregivers in Rhode Island.

The panel reminds us about what “kinship” means as well as:

• Presents information and resources that are available to older caregivers including caregivers age 55+ through AARP

• Shares additional resources available on the AARP website as well as RI Kinship Community Connections website

• Discusses challenges and barriers as it relates to kinship care


OHA Grant & Kinship Caregivers Age 55+

This episode of “It Takes A Village” discusses Kinship Community Connections for Caregivers over the age of 55.

The panel presents the definition of “kinship families” as well as:

• Describes the goals of the grant provided to the Village for Kinship Connections for Caregivers over the age of 55

• Defines the primary functions of the Office of Healthy Aging

• Names the other partners involved with Village on the grant

• Explores the types of supports that are available to caregivers, including Support Groups, Open Closet, Family Events, Kinship family mentors, connections with community resources, and more

• Discusses the resources available through OHA and the United Way

Interviews (Videos) with Spanish Speaking Kinship Foster Parents

Click on the link below to listen to interviews with 2 Kinship Caregivers in Spanish (subtitles in English) as they describe their experiences with kinship foster care:




Interviews (Video) #2 with Spanish Speaking Foster Parents
Listen to a few of our Kinship Families talk about their personal experiences as resource parents as well as and their journey with special needs children.
Learn about what resources, supports and services were available to help them navigate their foster care experiences and what might be helpful to you.

Click on the link below to listen to their interviews (2 Caregivers of which are over the age of 55) in Spanish as they describe these lived experiences:




“As a kinship care provider, I am sure we can all relate to “that phone call”.  The phone call that grew our family from 3 children to 6 in a matter of 2 hours, from having enough room in our van to having to take 2 vehicles wherever we went as a family, to shuffling around bedrooms and our biological children to make sure our foster children had the space the state required them to have, etc.  Our simple, somewhat quiet life as we knew it was now chaotic and open to the department.  That in itself, needed its own form of support and I am glad we found it!” 


Contact Us

Translate »