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What is Kinship Care?

According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2,677,000 children were in the care of relatives between 2016 and 2018. Countless others were cared for by someone with a close connection to the child or the child’s family. Collectively, these caregivers are called kin.

Kinship caregivers provide temporary or permanent homes in response to the needs of children whose parents are unable to care for them.

Kinship Care includes relationships established through an informal arrangement, a legal custody or guardianship order, a relative foster care placement, or adoption.

Kinship care is considered the most desirable out-of-home placement option for children who cannot live with their parents, as it offers children stability, the chance to maintain their sense of belonging, and the ability to remain connected with their family’s culture and traditions.

Kinship caregivers have proven they can ensure that children are safe and able to reach their potential, despite barriers that include navigating legal processes and bureaucratic red tape. In addition, kin are often challenged by sudden and sometimes unexpected placements, with little time to prepare and few resources or support to assist them in caring for children who have likely suffered the trauma of abuse, neglect, or abandonment.

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