Kinship care refers to the care of children by relatives or 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 as these arrangements provide an opportunity for:
- Children to live with people they know and trust
- Children to keep their family identity
- Fewer feelings of separation and loss
- The use of strengths based, not limitations based service delivery
- Community and cultural support
Kinship care may be formal and occur as a result of a child abuse or neglect investigation. This involves an assessment process to ensure the safety and suitability of the home along with supportive services for the child and caregivers. Kinship care may also be an informal arrangement between the caregiver and the child(ren)’s birth parents. Either way, Kinship caregivers have primary responsibility for the care of their relative’s child, and in most of these families the birth parent does not live in the home.
Families headed by grandparents and other relatives are growing fastest among those with the lowest incomes and greatest social service needs. Families need Kinship Care due to:
- Parental substance abuse
- Death of a child’s parent
- Parent is incarcerated
- Domestic Violence
- Mental Health issues
- Parental abandonment
- Child neglect or abuse
- Teenager not ready to be a parent
The overwhelming majority of children living with relatives are not in the custody of the child welfare system. Fewer than 10% of children living with relatives without their parent present are in the custody of the child welfare system. Some families are involved in both formal and informal care with related children from several nuclear families, and many are raising their own birth children as well.
from The Child Welfare Information Gateway & Child Welfare League of America (CWLA)
The Kinship Care program at the Family Enrichment Center, provides intensive case management, compassionate help, counseling/training, advocacy, possible financial assistance, economic benefits advice, support groups, Respite Care, legal support, personal empowerment, links to community services and permanency planning. All of these services and more are implemented to create support and stability in a safe and loving environment.
The goal of the Kinship Care program at FEC is to provide support by helping kinship caregivers access services, expand family support systems, reduce stress and promote family stability.
For more information, please contact Robert Davis at [email protected], (813) 237-2530, ext. 10.
The Kinship Program at FEC is funded by the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County (CBHC). http://www.childrensboard.org