Kinship care is commonly defined as "the full-time care, nurturing, and protection of a child by relatives, members of their Tribe or clan, godparents, stepparents, or other adults who have a family relationship to a child." The relationship should be respected on the basis of the family's cultural values and emotional ties. There are many benefits to placing children with relatives or other kinship caregivers, such as increased stability and safety as well as the ability to maintain family connections and cultural traditions. The following resources provide basic information about kinship care, including definitions, discusses the benefits of kinship care for children and families, presents information on the needs of and challenges faced by kinship caregivers, and describes the prevalence of kinship care in the United States.
Children in Kinship Care Experience Improved Placement Stability, Higher Levels of Permanency, and Decreased Behavioral Problems: Findings From the Literature (PDF - 81 KB)
Summarizes research suggesting that kinship caregivers provide improved placement stability, higher levels of permanency, and decreased behavior problems to children in care.
Children Thrive in Grandfamilies (PDF - 365 KB)
Summarizes research showing that children thrive in grandfamilies and do even better when well-supported by services.
Family Preservation and Kinship Care
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)
Provides resources to better understand family reunification and kinship care.
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Child Welfare Information Gateway
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The Kinship Diversion Debate: Policy and Practice Implications for Children, Families, and Child Welfare Agencies (PDF - 388 KB)
The Annie E. Casey Foundation (2013)
Discusses the role of government, community, and individual kinship caregivers in supporting children in the child welfare system.
Provides a searchable database of laws and legislation in all 50 States and the District of Columbia affecting grandparents raising children within and outside of the child welfare system.
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 child.
Research Brief: A Qualitative Research Study of Kinship Diversion Practice (PDF - 239 KB)
Malm & Allen (2016)
Explores the benefits of placing children with relatives rather than with foster caregivers.
State of Grandfamilies 2017: In Loving Arms: The Protective Role of Grandparents and Other Relatives in Raising Children Exposed to Trauma (PDF - 2,724 KB)
Generations United (2017)
Discusses the ways in which kinship caregivers can help their child understand and respond to the trauma that they have experienced, including maintaining community ties and creating a safe and stable home.
What Is Kinship Care?
The Annie E. Casey Foundation (2014)
Explains public and private kinship care, information about the benefits of kinship care, and the types of children in kinship care settings.