Kinship caregivers represent 39% of care for children placed in the foster care system, and they play a vital role in a child’s wellbeing. September is National Kinship Care Month, so we put together a list of 5 Things to Know about Kinship Care.
#1: Kinship Care is when a relative or close friend is the legal caregiver of a child.
When CPS removes children from their home to ensure their immediate safety and protect them from abuse or neglect, they first look for a relative to accept temporary or ongoing care of the child. This relative is called a kinship caregiver.
You don’t have to be a blood relative to be a kinship caregiver. Someone who is very close to the child, like a neighbor, teacher, or minister, can be a kinship caregiver too.
#2: Kinship Caregivers give children stability and familiarity.
All nurturing, loving families can give children stability, love, and set them up for success in life – regardless of whether or not there is a biological connection. Kinship caregivers are unique because they can offer a genuine, healthy tie to the child’s past. Kinship care can help children:
- Keep biological connections
- Maintain their cultural identity
- Feel a sense of continuity, trust, and stability in their home life
#3: Verified (Licensed) Kinship Caregivers receive benefits to help care for the children.
Kinship caregivers don’t automatically receive the same benefits that foster caregivers get. However, if kinship caregivers become licensed, they will also be eligible for financial reimbursement and medical insurance.
#4: Arms Wide can help Kinship Caregivers navigate kinship verification.
The first step in becoming verified (licensed) is to attend an Arms Wide Information Meeting. Here, Arms Wide staff will walk through the process of becoming licensed. The home licensing process includes:
- Document collection (i.e. driver’s license, etc.)
- Background checks for everyone living in the home
- Home study
- Most families complete the process in 3 to 6 months.
#5: Children can benefit from long-term permanency with their Kinship caregiver.
Permanency with a kinship provider gives a child stability. There are two options: Permanent Managing Conservatorship (PMC) and Adoption.
- PMC means that a judge appoints a person to be legally responsible for a child. Kinship caregivers with PMC can receive Post Permanency support services.
- Adoption is another option for kinship caregivers. Kinship families who adopt will have access to Post Adoption Services.
We know the journey doesn’t end with PMC or adoption. That’s why Arms Wide offers Post Adoption and Post Permanency Services to help children and families in the Houston, Corpus Christi, and Edinburgh areas. These services help children and families:
- Adjust to their permanent family
- Cope with any history of abuse or neglect
- Stay in tact as a family unit