montana kinship navigator program

Today, in Montana, there are more than 16,000 children under 18 living with and being cared for by relative caregivers. Over 13,000 children live with their grandparents, and more than 2600 are living with and being cared for by other relative kin. 

These children often come to them because of family crisis and the relative parents are often ill-equipped to deal with the emotional, physical, financial and social hardships of raising children “a second time around”. 

There are numerous reasons for the increase in this relative parent-led family form and often the reasons are intertwined: parental substance abuse, physical or mental health problems, financial difficulties, teen pregnancy, incarceration, death and deployment. The issue cuts across all socioeconomic and racial/ethnic groups.

The Montana Kinship Navigator Program serves Kinship and Relative Caregivers for the entire state of Montana. We are a central support, resource, and referral navigator program supporting Montana's rural areas, all of Montana's 8 Native American Tribes, and Montana's urban cities. The program was founded in 2002 to offer these caregivers support, education and access to resources so they can live happier, healthier lives and can, in turn, raise children who know emotional and physical safety, excel in school and social situations and are prepared to take on the challenges of their new life.

 Powerful Tools for Caregivers may be may be incorporated with the Kinship Navigator Program.  Find more information on Powerful Tools for Caregivers here.


  Peer Support, Resources &
Educational Opportunities

Visit this page to find our
latest information on
Kinship Caregivers Support Groups &
Powerful Tools for Caregivers Courses


Find a Contact for the Kinship Navigator Program in your area

Please contact us if you are interested in Support/Education
Group Facilitator Training, if you would like to join our
Kinship Caregivers Listserv, or have a Speaker request.  



 Grandmother and granddaughter



Parenting the Second Time Around

Parenting A Second Time Around (PASTA) is a strengths-based, eight-part workshop series for grandparents, relatives, foster parents, and others who are parenting again. The workshops can be delivered in a variety of ways, either as a one-day seminar or as a multi-part series over a few weeks or even months. 

Developed by Cornell Cooperative Extension, PASTA is an evidence-based curriculum designed to give relative caregivers and others the skills and resources needed to parent children ages infant to teen. In addition to the award-winning curriculum, each workshop can feature guest presenters who are experts in the fields of child development, discipline, legal issues, and other topics important to relative and other caregivers.

The eight topic areas are: 
It Wasn’t Supposed to be Like This - Identifying feelings about changing roles & identifying community resources 
Getting to Know You – Child development & individual differences 
Rebuilding a Family – Adult/child interactions, grief, loss, relating to your adult child, solution-focused problem solving 
Discipline is Not a Dirty Word, But it May Look Different Today – Effective discipline, establishing a discipline style, addressing high-risk behaviors 
Legal Concerns of Relatives Raising Children - Legal issues including custody, visitation and child support 
Standing up for Grandparent/Grandchildren Rights – Advocacy, negotiating systems, connecting with community 
Grandparents and Teens Living Together – Adolescent behavior & realistic expectations for behavior 
Living With Teens Can be Challenging – High-risk behaviors and strategies and resources for help 

This curriculum is offered two ways. It is offered as part of our Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Support Group Facilitator Training and as workshops for the general public.

 Would you like more information  Montana Kinship Navigator Program
and/or the resources available to relative caregivers? 

(833) 445-3395

 Or request information with this online form:  

 denotes required fields.

Please check the boxes below to clarify your request for our office.
Please provide your address below if you would like to receive our newsletter via regular mail.
street address, city, state, zip code


Contact the 
Montana Kinship Navigator Program at:
Heidi Lester
Program Manager
(406) 994-3395
Toll-free (833) 445-3395

102 Taylor Hall
PO Box 173580
Bozeman, MT 59717
Phone: (406) 994-3395
Toll-free (833) 445-3395
Fax: (406) 994-5417 


Find a Contact in Montana for the Kinship Navigator Program in your area


To learn more, we encourage you to get in touch, sign-up to receive our newsletter, or like our Facebook page.

The Montana Kinship Navigator Program focuses on grandparent and relative parent well-being, providing research-based resources and support to manage the physical and emotional stress of kinship caregiving.