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Kinship Care

Kinship care refers to the care of children with relatives or, in some jurisdictions, close family friends (often referred to as fictive kin). Relatives are the preferred resource for children who must be removed from their birth parents because it maintains the children's connections with their families. Kinship care is often considered a type of family preservation service.

Kinship care may be formal and involve a training and licensure process for the caregivers, monthly payments to help defray the costs of caring for the child, and support services. Kinship care also may be informal and involve only an assessment process to ensure the safety and suitability of the home along with supportive services for the child and caregivers. Approximately one-fourth of the children in out-of-home care are living with relatives. (Child Welfare Information Gateway) 

Kinship Care Resources:

  • A Family's Guide to the Child Welfare System
    This document is supported with funding from the Children’s Bureau, Administration on Children,Youth,and Families of the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; through a cooperative agreement with the Child, Adolescent, and Family Branch, Center for Mental Health Services of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; and from the National Child Welfare Resource Center for Family Centered Practice through a cooperative agreement with the Children’sBureau at ACF. This document reflects the thinking of many individuals and organizations, as well as information from valuable resource documents and documents describing federal laws and policies. It does not necessarily represent official policy or positions of the funding source.
  • A Guide to Child Protective Services for Relatives
    Caring for children is one of the most important jobs of every community. Relatives play an essential role in helping to meet the needs of children who are unable to live with their parents. The connection to family, relatives and community is very important to a growing child because - children can live with people they already know and trust; children can maintain their personal and cultural identity; familes learn to rely on their own resources and strenghts; relatives participate as responsible and integral members of the child and family support team. This booklet will help you to understand the reasons children come into the care of the Office of Children's Services (OCS), the responsibility of the state, the role of the court, the importance of relatives and the options available to relatives.
  • Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Resource Booklet
    This resource book came into being because of what wasn't there to support grandparents and other relatives in the work of raising their grandchildren.
  • Placement of Children With Relatives
    In order for States to receive Federal payments for foster care and adoption assistance, Federal law under title IV-E of the Social Security Act requires that they "consider giving preference to an adult relative over a nonrelated caregiver when determining placement for a child, provided that the relative caregiver meets all relevant State child protection standards".
  • Notification of Relatives
    This document outlines the components that are required by the federal Fostering Connections to Success in Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 (Fostering Connections Act) in order for the state or tribe to comply with the Notification of Relatives Provision (Section 103) of the law.
  • Relative Search Best Practice Guide
    The purpose of this guide is to assist social services agencies in performing relative searches when a child is removed from the home.
  • Making "Relative Search" Happen - A Guide to finding and Involving Relatives at Every Stage of the Child Welfare Process
    This resource was created by Child Focus - Connecting People, Programs & Policy. This guide is intended for those who want guidance on how to find and involve relatives at every stage of the of the child welfare process. It is for those committed to doing everything it takes to connect children and youth with adults who can have a positive influence on their lives. The guide highlights practical approaches to overcome existing challenges to expanding relative connections at the policy, agency and worker levels.

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