What is Kinship care?
In the United States, more than 6 million children live in homes where the head of the household is a grandparent or other relative. Current research shows that children and youth who live with kin often benefit because they are more likely to:
- Remain with their siblings
- Report being happy
- Stabilize in their own school
- Maintain family cultural practices
California law requires that when a child is removed from their home, relatives are searched for and if found, contacted and informed about the child’s removal. This allows relatives the option of helping the child during this difficult time.
“Kinship Care” refers to a temporary or permanent arrangement in which a relative or any non-relative adult, who has a long-standing relationship or bond with the child and/or family, has taken over the full-time, substitute care of a child whose parents are unable or unwilling to do so. Kinship caregivers may be grandparents, great-grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, or family friends of the children in their care.
Common questions for kin deciding if they can provide care for a relative
When considering how you may be able to help a child during this critical time, it is important to understand the child’s needs and assess your family’s ability to meet them. Questions that you may ask yourselves include:
- What is my relationship to and with the child?
- Do I understand the circumstances surrounding the child’s removal from his or her parents?
- How do I feel about the circumstances?
- Will I be able to set boundaries with the parents?
- Will I support the child’s return to his/her parents when it is deemed safe by Foster VC Kids?
- Will I be able to offer the child a permanent home through guardianship or adoption if the child is not able to return to his/her parents?
- Can I commit to the well-being of the child?
- Will I need financial assistance to care for the child?
Napa County CWS contracts with Lilliput, a part of Wayfinder Family Services
Lilliput provides Kinship services for Napa County. These services include but not are limited to:
- Information & Referral: Offer information and referral services for families who are in search of resources and support.
- Intake/Assessment: Provide intake and assessment services to assist families in identifying and prioritizing their needs, provide crisis intervention when needed, and link families to appropriate community services. The family assessment should be based on an understanding of the kinship family’s culture and community, family dynamics, and focus on the ability of the family to meet the immediate and ongoing needs of the youth.
- Case Management: Short-term interventions based on the individualized needs of the family.
- Respite: Help families develop appropriate respite care within their natural support systems and shall offer respite in the form of access to play care to allow families to participate in training and/or support groups.
- Respite Funds: Provide respite funds to families based on consistent criteria, to support family needs.
- Family Activities & Networking: Coordinator and facilitate regular family activities/social events on a quarterly basis.
- Family Activity Funds: Provide family activity funds to families for community activities that are offered on availability and equitable amongst the needs of the families.
- Support Group/Mentoring for Parents: Provide monthly support groups to adoptive parents.
- Psycho-Educational Groups and Workshops for Children & Teens: Provide support groups and workshops on an as needed basis for adopted youth to give them opportunities to connect with other adopted youth and foster supportive social connections.
- Transportation: Provide transportation if needed for medical care, educational, and recreational activities through funds for family, friends, and volunteers, bus passes, or gas money for relative caregivers.