Kinship foster care is an important way to provide a safe and loving home for children in need while keeping them connected to family members. If you’re considering becoming a kinship foster parent, here’s what you need to know about kinship foster care.
What is Kinship Care?
Kinship care is when a child who cannot live with their biological parents remains in the custody of the state but lives with another relative, such as an aunt or grandparent. The relative can be a blood relation or someone related by marriage or adoption. It provides the child with stability, belonging, and consistency while keeping them connected to their extended family.
What Are the Benefits of Kinship Foster Care?
Kinship foster care provides several benefits over traditional foster care. For example, it can help maintain connections between the child and their extended family, which can be beneficial for their emotional wellbeing. Additionally, kinship caregivers are often already part of the child’s life—either because they were already involved before or because of existing connections between families—so this can reduce transition times and make it easier for the child to adjust to their new circumstances.
What Are the Requirements for Being a Kinship Foster Parent?
Each state will have different requirements for being a kinship foster parent, so it’s important to research your local regulations before making any commitments. Generally speaking though, you must go through all of the usual checks that are required for any other type of foster parent (such as background checks) but you may also have additional obligations depending on your specific situation—for example, if you are not related by blood then there may be certain paperwork that needs to be filled out first.
How is Kinship Foster Care Similar to Traditional Foster Care?
Kinship foster parents share much in common with traditional (non-related) foster parents. Kinship Foster Parents should expect:
What unique challenges do Kinship Foster Parents face?
Kinship fostering does come with its own set of challenges as well—especially when it comes to financial issues. For example, some states may not provide financial assistance for relatives taking on the role of caregiver even though non-relative caregivers would receive assistance. In some states, this does change if the kinship foster parent because licensed (talk to the child's social worker about that possibility).
Another issue kinship foster parents face is more personal; Because kinship foster parents are known to the child's biological parents, it may mean resentment and anger amongst family members involved in the case. These circumstances should be dealt with maturely and delicately to the child doesn't feel they're in the middle of this tension.
While challenging, kinship fostering can be incredibly rewarding both for the kinship parents and for children in need of a stable home environment. If you you've been asked to serve as a kinship foster placement and think it would suit you and your family, talk to the child's CPS worker to see how to move forward.
I'm a foster mom, bio mom, working mom, special needs mom, busy mom. I'm also married to my high school sweetheart, I'm a proud 23-year childhood cancer survivor, and I'm passionate about serving my community.
More from FosterMama