Kinship care refers to the care of children by 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 helps maintain the children’s connections with their families, increases stability, and overall minimizes the trauma of family separation. Kinship caregivers may be referred to as formal or informal kinship families based on if they are officially involved with the child welfare systems or not.
Kinship caregivers and families may be faced with needs, questions, and constraints different than resource foster care families. Child welfare agencies continue to address these unique needs through kinship navigator programs that help caregivers manage the foster care licensing process; connect families to available supports and services; and understand legal, medical, or other systems and requirements.
As jurisdictions place higher emphasis on placing children and youth in relative or familiar settings, some are expanding and advancing the support provided to kinship caregivers. This is a series of episodes featuring the advances created and implemented by child welfare agencies and their partners to strengthen kinship families and meet the unique needs faced by these caregivers.