Here are a few recent articles related to Kinship Care, a form of foster care in which a state agency places children into the care of relatives.
1. A Kentucky Grandparent and Relative Caregiver Handbook, released in September by the Kinship Families Coalition of Kentucky, is a comprehensive resource for relative caregivers in the Blue Grass State, and it provides great perspective for kinship families anywhere. I may be wrong, but this looks like an update to a similar document from 2016 which is still available from the State of Kentucky’s website at Grandparent and Relative Caregiver Resource Guide: Resources for Grandparents and Relatives raising children across The Bluegrass Region.
2. Louisiana Kinship Navigator Legal and Custodial Guide was published in September 2019 by Louisiana’s Department of Children and Family Services. Louisiana’s guide has a different angle than Kentucky’s and seems to focus more on legal information. Kentucky reports the highest percentage of children in relative placements among the states, and Kentucky’s guide describes an Ombudsman for child-related matters, something Louisiana lacks.
3. Kinship Care is Better for Children and Families, by Heidi Redlich Epstein, is published on the website of the American Bar Association. (Interestingly, there is a disclaimer indicating the article should not be construed as representing the policy of the American Bar Association.)
4. Other states are publishing and updating guides for relative caregivers and the US Department of Health and Human Services provides helpful information About Kinship Care on the Child Welfare Information Gateway.
Kinship care is not a new phenomenon. It is as old as families. However, state child welfare agencies seem recently to be opening their eyes to the benefits kinship care generally offers over foster care for children who must be removed from parents’ care by the courts for reasons of abuse or neglect. The benefits of kinship care are many, and for most children, kinship care is absolutely proper. But, depending on family dynamics, it will not be the best setting for every child. Experience shows that healthy child welfare systems are able to provide a robust array of services to children in foster care.