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Learn / Kinship

When you think you can’t, just remember kin can.

The relationship you hold with this child is so important. It will help both of you get through this time.

Common Kinship Questions

Kinship Care means that you have the responsibility of providing care for a friend’s or relative child/children for an undetermined period because it has been determined that the children are at risk of abuse or neglect. The state or local child welfare agency goal is to reunite the children with their family by assisting them to ameliorate the issues that brought them to the government’s attention. As a kinship provider your role is to be a safe and nurturing support system.
Kinship providers stand in the gap to meet the daily needs of a child that has been temporarily removed from their parents’ home. They are responsible for getting the child to and from school, addressing medical issues, attending to appointments, parental visitations, including but not limited to helping children attend extra-curricular activities like sports, school clubs.
In many states kinship care providers do not receive a monthly stipend unless they become licensed foster care providers. Kinship providers may apply for food stamps and Medicaid benefits. If the kinship care provider is a blood relative, they may be eligible to file for Temporary Assistance for Needy Family (TANF) benefits. The TANF program, which is time limited, assists families with children when the parents or other responsible relatives cannot provide for the family’s basic needs. If you feel that this is something that would assist you in caring for the children in your home speak with the children’s caseworker. They may also know of free or low-cost community resources that are available to meet the children’s needs.
When you decide to be a kinship care placement know that there may not have a specific begin and end date. You are committing to being present for the child while their parents are addressing their accessing services to address housing stability, abusive parenting, mental health, substance use/abuse, domestic violence, and poverty related issues. Caseworkers are unable to determine how long a kinship placement will last, however they are trying to identify a stable placement for the child for as long as it takes for them to be reunified with their parents.
The state/local child welfare agency will assign a caseworker to the family’s case. This individual has the responsibility to work with the birth parents and you as the children’s caregiver. This worker has several families on their caseload and may need 48 hours to return your call. However, they are there to assist you with accessing services and answering questions.
The parents should not come and remove the children from your care. However, if this happens, you should immediately contact local law enforcement and the caseworker. The children’s safety is paramount.

For more general information about Kinship Care go to:

Referral to websites not produced by Focus on the Family is for informational purposes only and does not necessarily constitute an endorsement of the sites’ content.

You’ve built their trust, now let’s build yours.

You need to trust yourself as a caregiver. Even more than this child trusts in you.

God knows exactly what you need. He witnessed your decision to step up. He will honor it. That doesn’t mean it’s easy — the more you learn, the better your care.

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