What is Kinship Foster Care?
Kinship Foster Care refers to the placement of children involved in the Foster Care system with relatives or close family friends. Relatives or close family friends are the preferred resource for children who must be removed from their parents because it maintains the children’s connections with their families.
Our goal is to do whatever we can to ensure that once a child is placed in our Foster Care program that they end up being cared for by a relative or close family friend (kinship).
Once it’s been determined that Foster Care placement is necessary, a Child Protection Specialist will work within the family’s contacts to make every attempt possible to have the child(ren) placed with relatives and close friends. Ultimately, the best-case scenario for both the child(ren) and the family is for the child(ren) to live with friends or family.
For a child, placement into Foster Care is life-changing. Everything is turned upside down and, simply stated, the impact stays with them the rest of their lives. The best way and proven way to minimize this impact, to minimize the exposure to trauma, is to have the child live with family or people they know. Research has shown the direct impact on educational, social and emotional outcomes for these children and the looks of comfort on the children’s faces reconfirm these facts for us. When family or friends cannot be found from the beginning it is our job to find them.
The backbone of our work for the child(ren) and families in our Foster Care program is to make sure we do everything in our power to identify, work with and support the family.
How does Kinship Foster Care benefit the child?
Placing a child with a relative or family friend provides the child with a greater sense of normalcy and, like in Anna’s case, greater outcomes are achieved. As outlined in an American Bar Association article, as well as various research findings, kinship improves well-being, increases permanency, improves behavioral and mental health outcomes, promotes sibling ties, preserves the child(ren)’s cultural identity and community ties, and provides support for older youth.
We take great pride in the Foster Parents that we recruit, license and partner with. The love, care, and support that they provide our children are both incredible and humbling. But it is undeniable that, for the child we serve, the familiarity of an aunt, uncle, grandmother or grandfather provides them with a bond and connection that would be impossible to immediately expect from a loving stranger.
Why a campaign?
Stepping in to care for your niece, nephew, grandchild, or neighbor, is a decision that requires our Kinship Parents to embrace an influence that in most cases is foreign to them. Because of the regulations within the Foster Care system caring for a relative can present a unique set of challenges. Between the trainings, licensing regulations, visitations, medical appointments, and court, managing your own household can feel daunting. Many of our kinship parents undertake this commitment without regard to what it might mean to their households. They undertake this commitment with the focus on the child and their extended family. This campaign is to help them and help their families by providing these families with that extra.
As a community, we are looking to raise $50,000 between now and June to provide added support to kinship foster parents. This extra can go a long way. It can help pay for the initial transportation costs of getting the child to school and appointments. It can help immediately purchase diapers, formula, and bedding. It can help purchase items for the home in order to meet these “foreign” licensing requirements. It can help guarantee stability, familiarity and help ensure that the focus remains on helping the child and their parents find success.
We ask for your help as a community. We ask that you meet our families’ strength with your support.