Resources for Kinship/Relative Caregivers

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 placement for children who must be removed from their birth parents because it maintains the children's connections with their families. As a kinship caregiver, a child may come to you through a child welfare agency acting on behalf of the State or through informal arrangements made by parents and other family members without any State involvement. Resources in this section help clarify the differences between formal and informal kinship care and outline where you can go to find support. Additional resources can help guide you on important issues, such as dealing with legal and financial issues and understanding your new role along with the changing family dynamics that may occur when you take a relative’s child into your home. 

Formal and informal kinship care

Kinship Caregivers and the Child Welfare System
Series Title Factsheets for Families
Child Welfare Information Gateway
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Year Published 2016
Discusses issues of interest to the growing number of grandparents and other relatives caring for children whose own parents are unable to care for them. Sometimes, the arrangement (referred to as "kinship care") is an informal, private arrangement between the parents and relative caregivers; in other situations, the local child welfare agency is involved. This factsheet is designed to help kinship caregivers--including grandparents, aunts and uncles, other relatives, and family friends caring for children--work effectively with the child welfare system. Resources, such as links to more detailed information or places to find help, are included.

Kinship Foster Caregivers—Partners for Permanency
Soine (2013)
Social Work Today, 13(5)
Explains the importance of providing kinship caregivers with access to financial, social, medical, and educational resources in order to support youth in their care.

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Finding support for relative caregivers

The Grandkin’s Guide: Frequently Asked Questions and Answers for Relatives Raising (PDF - 544 KB)
National Kinship Alliance for Children (2013)
Explores what to expect when asked to care for relative children. Understand kinship care and the different types of kinship care, see how the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program can help, and the choices relatives may have when asked by child welfare agencies to care for related children.

Grandfamilies State Law and Policy Resource Center
Explores how the laws in each State affect grandfamilies and provides free legal information. Learn about how housing, healthcare, education, and other issues can impact grandfamilies. 

Generations United
Provides free online resources on intergenerational programs and policies, including information on raising children with disabilities, factsheets to assist grandparents and relatives, and an explanation of the benefits of social security. The site also shares success stories of relative caregivers.

State Fact Sheets (2017)
Presents State’s laws and what legal, educational, and other assistance is available to kinship caregivers.

Adoption, Foster Care, and other Child Related Issues
Explains the Federal and State benefits and resources available to adoptive, foster, and kinship caregivers.

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Guides and additional information

The Interstate Compact for Placement of Children
Mabrey (2014)
Foster Care Newsletter
Explains the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children—an agreement that provides for children in care who move between States.

A Family Right to Care: Charting the Legal Obstacles (PDF 1,011 KB)
Wallace (2016)
GrandFamilies, (3)1
Outlines the range of legal issues that affect kinship families through a discussion of relevant Federal and State laws.

Oregon's Legal Guide for Grandparents and Other Older Relatives Raising Children (PDF - 679 KB)
Oregon Department of Human Services (2016)
Explains the legal rights and obligations of kinship caregivers in the State of Oregon, including information on school costs, medical planning, and housing issues.

Parenting Grandchildren
Oregon State University Extension Service Family and Community Health
Outlines the statewide support network in Oregon that provides technical assistance to organizations supporting grandparent kin caregivers.

State of Grandfamilies 2017: In Loving Arms. The Protective Role of Grandparents and Other Relatives in Raising Children Exposed to Trauma (PDF - 2,724 KB)
Generations United (2017)
Discusses how to recognize the trauma children may have experienced and ways to respond effectively, including maintaining community ties and creating a safe and stable home.

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