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Resources for Kinship 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 resource for children who must be removed from their birth parents because it maintains the children's connections with their families. Resources in this section provide information to help kin prepare for a change in roles, outline ways to effectively deal with changing family dynamics, and provide helpful links for additional support.

Preparing for your new role

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.

The Kinship Parenting Toolbox: A Unique Guidebook for the Kinship Care Parenting Journey
Phagan-Hansel (2015)
View Abstract
Provides information for those working with and parenting a relative's child. The book includes chapters that address the unexpected role of becoming a kinship caregiver, getting organized to provide care, legalities regarding kinship care, financial assistance for providing kinship care, changing family dynamics, tips for dealing with an adult child, and much more.

The GrandKin Guide: Frequently Asked Questions and Answers for Relatives Raising Children (PDF - 544 KB)
National Kinship Alliance for Children (2013)
Explains what extended families can expect when asked to care for children by defining kinship care and different types of kinship care, explaining the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, and discussing choices relatives have when asked by child welfare agencies to care for their related children.

Raising Children Again
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health (2010)
Discusses the increasing number of grandparents raising their grandchildren and provides resources regarding public benefits grandparents may be able to obtain.

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Dealing with the change in family dynamics

Helping Grandchildren Stay in Contact With Parents (PDF - 6,830 KB)
The University of Georgia, Cooperative Extension (2009)
Discusses how to handle challenges grandparents may face while caring for their grandchildren and the challenges parents face in giving up that responsibility. The article provides guidelines to handle the adjustment and how to help children maintain relationships with their parents. 

The Cycle of Family Patterns (PDF - 233 KB)
University of Wisconsin, Cooperative Extension (2003)
Explains ways to break negative patterns and reinforce positive ones through various types of support.

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Finding support

State Kinship Care contacts and programs
Series Title Related Organizations Lists
Child Welfare Information Gateway
Availability View
Year Published 2017
This resource listing includes State Kinship Care contacts or website links to kinship care programs provided by State child welfare agencies in relevant States and the District of Columbia.

National Foster Care & Adoption Directory
Child Welfare Information Gateway
Offers listings of kinship, foster care, and adoption support groups by State. 

National Kinship Alliance for Children
Provides education and support for children and kinship families through a network of grandparents, community members, and professionals.

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.

Grandfamilies State Law and Policy Resource Center
Provides national and State-specific legal resources to support advocacy for children and their caregivers within and outside child welfare.

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