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 whether they are officially involved with the child welfare system.
Kinship caregivers and families may be faced with needs, questions, and constraints that are different than those of 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. The podcast series, Advances in Supporting Kinship Caregivers, comprises 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.
Part 4 explores the public-private partnership between FosterKinship and the state of Nevada. FosterKinship supports the state by providing both kinship navigator services and foster care licensing services, reducing the number of offices and agencies families have to interact with to adapt and prepare for the change becoming a kinship family requires. FosterKinship also provides programs and services to connect kinship families access services or resources they need to raise healthy children.
The following individuals are featured in this episode:
- Ali Caliendo, Ph.D., founder and executive director, FosterKinship
- Nani Leffall, MS, family advocate supervisor, FosterKinship
- Jennifer Erbes, manager, Clark County Department of Family Services
Topics discussed include the following:
- Kinship caregivers’ challenge to learn about and access available services and supports
- The value of combining kinship navigator and foster care licensing services
- How reducing the number of points of contact for families helps create stronger, more trusting relationships with the child welfare system