What is Kinship?

Kinship is a method of care that emphasizes familial bonding and the preservation and strengthening of close relationships between caregivers and children in the child welfare system. There are varying types and degrees of kinship. This article will explain what kinship is and the benefits of becoming a licensed kinship caregiver.

what is kinship

What is Kinship: The Go-To Solution for Out-of-Home Placement

Most of us can agree that living in a close-knit family environment is a crucial stepping stone on the pathway to a strong future. With this logic in mind, child welfare organizations decided that if a child must be removed from her birth parents it would be best to keep her in the care of someone she knows. The decision led to an increase in the number of children and families involved in kinship care, where children are raised by relatives or close family friends when their birth parents are unwilling or unable to do so.

Studies suggest that the new focus on kinship care has worked well for children and their families. It is associated with a reduction in the number of out-of-home placements a child experiences, an increase in the likelihood of reunification with her birth parents and an increase in a child’s ability to maintain connections to her community, school and family – all hugely important parts of becoming a confident adult. Continue reading

Why Relatives Choose KLG Over Adoption: The Pros and Cons — Choosing What’s Best For You

Family is arguably the most important institution on the planet. Family members are the ones responsible for molding one another into productive citizens in society. They nurture and teach their children to become independent and effective so they can in turn nurture future generations and make the world a better place to live. Sometimes, however, biological parents are not the ones who raise their child. In fact, many children who are not reared by their biological parents are brought up by other members of the family or by loved ones who are close to the family. However, many relatives, when faced with permanency options, decide not to adopt. We are going to discuss why relatives choose KLG over adoption, the pros and cons and choosing what’s best for you as a kinship resource parent.

kinship-newsletterAn article written by Rob Geen called The Evolution of Kinship Care Policy and Practice suggests that relatives are the main caregivers for a large amount of children who have been displaced, and kinship resource homes have increased over the years. The definition of “kin” varies depending on the state in which you reside. Continue reading

The Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC)

Working Hand in Hand for Your Relative in Kinship Foster Care

The Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC)You get an unexpected call informing you a relative who lives in another state has been placed into foster care. After the initial feeling of shock leaves, you realize immediate action must be taken. You want to bring the child into your home and give him the support he needs after such a traumatic experience, but you may be unsure of the steps involved. Continue reading

Kinship Caregiver Challenges – Where to Turn

Kinship Caregiver Challenges & Concerns

kinship caregiver challenges

Photo by Ricardo Santeugini

Kinship caregiver challenges are very similar to challenges faced by foster parents, but the emotional impact of raising a relative’s child is unique. While foster parents make a conscious, well-planned decision to take a child into their home, kinship caregivers often have to make the decision quickly and without preparation. Also, because the child is family, there are complex emotions that kinship parents must cope with, including being torn between the needs of the child they’re caring for and, in many cases, the wants of their own child.

There are many topics of concern that kinship caregivers face; here is a partial list: Continue reading

Kinship Care in the United States: An Overview

kinship care in the united statesThe number of children in kinship care in the United States is growing. This shift has led to new challenges for families and the development of special programs to meet their unique needs.

Across the United States, many aunts, uncles, grandparents, other relatives and family friends are providing care to children who are unable to live with their birth parents. This method of care is commonly referred to as kinship care. Relatives and family friends, who are known to a child, can often help ease the pain and sorrow of separating from a parent by offering a safe and nurturing environment. Continue reading

Kinship Care on the Rise

While foster parents continue to be the safety net for our country’s abused and neglected children, in recent years a significant change has begun to take place. More and more, instead of placing these children in the homes of strangers, caseworkers strive to place them in the homes of relatives or family friends, also known as kinship homes.

kinship careThis change has resulted in more grandparents raising grandchildren then ever before. In 2012, National KIDS COUNT reported that 4% of all children under the age of 18 in the United States were living in a home where a grandparent was their primary caregiver. This number is likely to rise going forward.

New Jersey follows this trend, with grandparents, aunts and uncles and family friends being approached first to take in at risk children, rather than sending them immediately to foster homes. Kinship caregivers must become licensed, just as foster parents must, to take in children who are in the custody of the State. Continue reading