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 maintains the children's connections with their families. Kinship care is often considered a type of family preservation service.
Kinship care may be formal and involve a training and licensure process for the caregivers, monthly payments to help defray the costs of caring for the child, and support services. Kinship care also may be informal and involve only an assessment process to ensure the safety and suitability of the home along with supportive services for the child and caregivers. Approximately one-fourth of the children in out-of-home care are living with relatives.