Your Introduction To Kinship Care

February 17, 2022 | 4 min read

Throughout history, families have helped to care for their relatives' children in times of need. During times of illness, financial hardship, or another family crisis, many cultures have upheld the practice of caring for one another when they can.

There are numerous reasons why placing a child with a close friend, or family member is beneficial. When children are taken care of by their friends or family, they often have an easier time adjusting to the new lifestyle changes and experience fewer behavioral concerns.

Today, there are nearly 2.7 million children in kinship care situations in the United States alone. These kids need economic stability, access to education, resources to sustain a healthy life, and family and community support to thrive. With kinship care, that goal can become a reality.

@NEChildrensHome helps shed light on the topic of #KinshipCare when it comes to caring for a loved one’s child. See how they can help you connect to the resources you need for your parenting role:Click To Tweet

What Is Kinship Care?

Many times, when people step up to care for someone else’s child, they are closely related to the situation at hand. These temporary caregivers, or Kinship Caregivers, help provide a safe, stable, and loving home environment for their loved one’s child until they can care for their child once again. In many situations, Kinship Caregivers are family members, family friends, or other supportive parenting figures.

It is important to note that kinship care does not permanently alter the rights and responsibilities of the biological parent to the new caregiver. Instead, kinship care is a function of childcare with the intention of future reunification. This means that the overall goal is for the birth parent to regain primary care of their child. While the biological parent takes time to get the help and support they need to become responsible and reliable; the kinship caregiver takes over primary caregiving duties.

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How is Kinship Care Different?

On the surface, it might seem challenging to distinguish the differences in expectations and responsibilities for the various parenting roles people have. While the terms of Kinship Caregiver, Foster Parents, Adoptive Parents, and Appointed Guardians might seem familiar, each role’s unique rights and responsibilities can be confusing. To help you distinguish between these roles, we’ve provided a quick overview of each role:

  • Adoptive Parents — these individuals have taken steps to become legally recognized as the child(ren)’s parent. Adoptive parents have transferred all rights, responsibilities, and legal duties of the child once the adoption is finalized.
  • Appointed Guardian — a temporary caregiving situation for a child, appointed guardianships ensure a child receives necessary care that the legal parent can’t provide at the moment — but intends to later on. Unlike with adoption, appointed guardians are not seen as the permanent parent of a child.
  • Foster Parents — these people are the ones who welcome children in need of a safe and loving home into their house. Since the intent is to reunite families, foster parents care for children until they can return to their biological parents.
  • Kinship Caregiver — kinship caregivers, are individuals with close connections to the child and the family at hand. These individuals are often family members like aunts, uncles, and grandparents, but can also be step-parents, godparents, or close family friends. Kinship caregivers have a strong relationship with the child and intend to act as responsible and reliable parents. While many kinship caregivers are related through family ties, this is not a requirement.
If you’re caring for your loved ones’ child, @NEChildrensHome is here to help! Check out their blog on the resources #KinshipCaregivers can access for support:Click To Tweet

Kinship Navigation: Focus On Reunification

At NCHS, we put the children first in all that we do.

We believe that every child has the right to a safe, loving home and compassionate care. With Kinship Navigation, we are helping to make that belief a reality. Kinship Navigation can guide you to the legal, financial, emotional, and material resources your unique family needs. Our connections to community services, educational materials, peer support groups, and certified specialists mean we are equipped to help you with essentially anything you might encounter.

As a no-obligation, only opportunity program, Kinship Navigation, can connect with:

  • Benefits for the cost of food, healthcare, or living expenses.
  • Educational classes for parents
  • Emotional and mental health support
  • Legal advice and aid 
  • Personal care items like clothing, hygiene supplies, or school supplies
  • Stress management strategies

You’re not alone in this situation. There are countless people out there who have been through similar experiences and are willing and able to lend a helping hand or offer some advice.

To learn more about our Kinship Navigation services, reach out to our team! We’re just a quick phone call away, ready to connect you to the resources you need.