Support services help kin to provide care, access services for the child, and maintain family stability.
Research Note: Research
suggests that kinship foster families typically access fewer services and receive less support from the child welfare system than unrelated foster parents
. These disparities can often be exceptionally burdensome because kinship caregivers
tend to be older and less educated than unrelated foster parents
, and suffer from greater health and financial instabilities.
When the child is in state custody, caregivers are informed that:
- the primary objective is reunification, or another permanent living arrangement in the child’s best interest;
- maintaining contact when siblings are separated is important; and
- the organization is legally obligated to be involved with the family to safeguard the child, while respecting family privacy.
NA The organization only provides informal kinship care services.
Caregivers receive assistance, directly or through referral, to provide a safe home environment.
Assistance in preparing a safe home environment can include working with individuals or community
organizations to help families obtain needed resources to adjust to the addition of a child to the home. Resources can include furniture for the child’s room, physical adjustments to the home to accommodate special needs
, or individual and family counseling.
Caregivers receive help obtaining support services including:
- financial assistance;
- legal services;
- housing assistance;
- food and clothing;
- physical and mental health care;
- homemaker services; and
- respite care.
Caregivers are encouraged to use informal supports, including:
- other kinship caregivers;
- members of tribal, religious, and spiritual communities; and
- local businesses or other community organizations.
The organization works collaboratively with the caregiver and, when appropriate, with parents to identify and prepare other kin who can:
- care for the child, if necessary, on a temporary or full-time basis; and
- provide assistance and support to the caregiver.
Caregivers receive assistance to obtain:
- training in basic first aid and medication administration;
- certification in CPR, when necessary and appropriate;
- training in parenting and discipline techniques; and
- training in child development.
When caregivers provide therapeutic care to children with exceptional medical needs, CPR certification is required. In other cases, the organization should consult with the state to determine whether and under what circumstances it is necessary and appropriate for caregivers to be certified in CPR. If it is determined that CPR certification is not necessary, the organization should use the state’s guidance to develop a plan for how kinship caregivers should respond in case of emergency. Appropriate responses may vary based on the geographic area that the organization serves.
Caregivers are informed about, and assisted in, pursuing permanency options such as adoption, guardianship, or subsidized guardianship.
Customary adoption should be considered as a permanency option for Indian children.