Transcript (PDF - 189 KB)
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 resource for children who must be removed from their birth parents because it helps maintain the children's connections with their families, increases stability, and overall minimizes the trauma of family separation. Kinship caregivers may be referred to as formal or informal kinship families based on if they are officially involved with the child welfare systems or not.
Kinship caregivers and families may be faced with needs, questions, and constraints different than resource foster care families. Child welfare agencies continue to address these unique needs through kinship navigator programs that help caregivers manage the foster care licensing process; connect families to available supports and services; and understand legal, medical, or other systems and requirements.
As jurisdictions place higher emphasis on placing children and youth in relative or familiar settings, some are expanding and advancing the support provided to kinship caregivers. This is a series of episodes featuring the advances created and implemented by child welfare agencies and their partners to strengthen kinship families and meet the unique needs faced by these caregivers.
This episode focuses on Washington State’s approach to providing kinship support services. The conversation describes how the State’s kinship support is operated by the State’s Aging and Long-Term Support Administration and provides some of its services through a one-time stipend to help new kinship families meet basic needs. This episode also spends time discussing providing kinship navigator services in the Yakima and Tri-Cities region of central Washington, a rural, Latinx community.
The following individuals are featured in this episode:
- Laura Dow, kinship navigator, Catholic Charities of Central Washington
- Mariela Valencia, kinship navigator, Catholic Charities of Central Washington
- Rosalyn Alber, aging and long-term support administration, Washington State Department of Social and Health Services
Topics discussed include the following:
- Differences in formal and informal kinship caregivers and the differences caseworkers may have to navigate when working with each
- Cultural considerations caseworkers and others should be aware of when working with a rural, Latinx communities and families
- The importance of building relationships across a community, not just with kinship families
- Implementation of one-time stipends for kinship families in Washington State
Other Related Resources
- It’s All Relative: Supporting Kinship Care Discussion Guides and Video Series
Capacity Building Center for States