When children cannot be assured safety in their own homes, the best alternative resource can often be found within the extended family and other “kin.” Kinship is the self-defined relationship between two or more people and is based on biological, legal, and/or strong family-like ties.
Parents and guardians facing the risk of child placement are given a reasonable opportunity to identify and come together with their kinship network to plan for and provide safety, care, nurture, and supervision for the child. Social Services has the responsibility of assessing the suggested resource to assure that the child will receive appropriate care.
If Social Services has custody or Child Protective Services involvement with the child and has sanctioned a non-licensed kinship placement, services may be provided to assure that the kin caregiver has the best chance of meeting the child’s needs for physical and emotional security. Some services that are frequently requested by caregivers include:
- Legal assistance in obtaining permission to enroll the child in school, to obtain medical attention or to obtain legal custody or guardianship;
- Assistance negotiating the social services system to get approved for food stamps, Work First grants, Medicaid or state supported insurance coverage for the child, child support, or day care services; and
- Information and referral services to connect with informal and formal service providers in the local community.
For more information about kinship care and available services, please contact us at (828) 465-8901.