Addressing Legal Issues Faced by Kinship Caregivers
The following section provides resources on legal issues for caseworkers working with kin caregivers and links for caregivers to legal information about their legal rights and responsibilities.
Grandfamilies State Law and Policy Resource Center
Casey Family Programs, American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law, & Generations United
Presents a searchable database of current State laws and pending legislation in support of grandfamilies, and assists policymakers in exploring policy options to support relatives and the children in their care both within and outside the child welfare system.
Resources for caseworkers
Denver Prevention Partnership: Protecting Children and Families (PDF - 1006 KB)
Children's Rights, 11(2), 2009
Highlights the Denver Prevention Partnership program, which expedites services outside the transitional court system by providing legal services and community support to families that provide kinship care to children at risk of entering the foster care system.
Let's Help Caregivers and Children in Informal Kinship Care: De Facto Custodian Legislation
Gibson and Singh
Child Welfare, 89(3), 2010
Introduces the significance of the de facto concept and provides detailed information on its components and limitations. The de facto custodian guardianship provides an additional legal option to caregivers by allowing them to present their caregiving history during custody hearings.
"We Have No Rights, We Get No Help": The Legal and Policy Dilemmas Facing Grandparent Caregivers
Letiecq, Bailey, & Porterfield
Journal of Family Issues, 29(8), 2008
Shows the four legal or policy contexts that hindered informal grandparent caregiving, including the lack of a kinship care navigation system, the lack of legal rights, fear of the child welfare system, and disparities between informal and formal kinship care policies.
Resources for kinship caregivers
Grandparents Raising Grandchildren (PDF - 393 KB)
Boulder County, CO, Aging Services Division (2008)
Explains options available for grandparents to establish a legal relationship with a grandchild.
Grandparents' Rights (PDF - 89 KB)
Explains Connecticut law on grandparents' rights to custody and visitation as well as guardianship and adoption.
Guide for Foster Parents and Relative Caregivers: Understanding the Nebraska Juvenile Court Child Protection Process (PDF - 1382 KB)
Nebraska Court Improvement Project (2009)
Provides information to Nebraska foster parents on the juvenile court protection process. The handbook explains key legal terms, and provides information on types of dependency hearings and the roles of the judge, caseworker, guardian ad litem, court-appointed special advocate, and the Foster Care Review Board.
The Rights of Relatives in Family Court (PDF - 315 KB)
Answers questions about kinship care for relatives who would like to seek custody or guardianship for a family member in foster care. The factsheet also includes information for grandparents about visitation rights.
Top 10 Tips for Relative Caregivers to Implement Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 (PDF - 895 KB)
Generations United (2009)
Provides strategies for implementing the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008, such as how to understand the law fully, communicate with child welfare agencies, contact governors to urge adoption of subsidized guardianship programs, and more.