The Dunn Family Story
While grocery shopping one day, Debi Dunn tried her best to keep her six lively grandchildren under control. An onlooker noticed her struggle and approached her to find out if she needed help. Upon learning that Debi had taken sole custody of her grandchildren just six months prior, the woman gave Debi a phone number to a program she thought could help.
Debi dialed the number the next day to discover the kind stranger had referred her to Kinship, a Children’s Home Network program available to family members caring for relatives’ children. Debi was overjoyed to learn that they offer the support, services, and resources she and her family so desperately needed.
The day Debi made the call to Kinship was the day she could finally breathe and realized she was no longer alone.
About nine years ago, Debi took custody of her grandchildren who ranged from one to eleven years old. She recalls driving back and forth multiple times between Florida and Tennessee to move the children out of foster care and into her custody. She was motivated by her desire to keep her grandchildren together no matter what, since they had been living in separate foster homes previously.
As a parent who had already raised her own three children, Debi thought she was ready for the responsibilities that come with being a caretaker. But, she admits it was extremely difficult working full-time while taking care six young children.
The services offered by Kinship over the years have been a lifesaver. For starters, the family received much needed counseling to cope with past trauma and hardships. Kinship also provides tutoring services for the grandchildren who have difficulty with school work. And when Debi and her children are in need of that little bit of extra support, Kinship is there with financial assistance to ensure the family continues to thrive.
Today, Debi is proud to say she and her grandchildren are doing just that – thriving.
“Thanks to Kinship, all of my grandchildren are well-adjusted and are all doing great.”
Kinship is a program of the Children’s Home Network and is available to family members caring for a relatives’ children in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Orange, Osceola, and Pasco counties. It helps families connect to necessary services, expand family support systems, and reduce stress to promote family stability. To learn more, visit www.childrenshomenetwork.org/kinship-services.