What is Kinship Care?
Foster care and adoption are terms that most people have heard before. Foster care is when a child comes into care and is placed with a foster family, a family willing to care for the child, either temporarily or long term. The foster family and child usually meet for the very first time when the child is placed in the home and begin to learn more about each other as time goes by. Kinship Care is when a child is placed with a relative or family friend. Identifying family members who are able and willing to take in their relative’s child or children begins early in the placement process. From the time the child is removed, caseworkers start asking for names and phone numbers of family members and family friends who might be considered as a placement option. Kinship placement is generally the preferred placement route for children coming into care through child protective services.
Like foster parents, kinship families must also go through a home assessment to ensure the potential home is safe and suitable for the child’s age and needs. There are significant benefits of placing a child with a family member or family friend. Imagine being a child and having to leave your home due to abuse or neglect and walking into the home of a stranger. Now think about what that experience would be like if the child could go to a grandparent’s house for a while, or an aunt; both are providing a loving, safe and familiar environment. In many cultures, it is common practice for relatives to care for a family member’s child when the parents are not able or willing. What is different about going through this process with a recognized foster/adoption agency is that kinship caregivers can tap into various resources, including financial assistance, to help them along in this journey.
Kinship care is designed to provide an ongoing sense of stability for the child, is conducive to strengthening family bonds, and minimizes trauma. Research also shows that when children are placed with a relative, they are less likely to run away and exhibit fewer behavior problems. When thinking of what is in the child’s best interest, who else would know their favorite foods, celebrate the same cultural holidays, and keep the child in contact with extended family, thus allowing the child to remain connected to relatives and friends.
How To Apply for Kinship Care in Texas
Becoming a kinship caregiver is similar to becoming a foster parent. Please visit our foster care page for more information about kinship care, check out our training calendar, and sign up for the next foster parent orientation.