September is National Care Month, a time to recognize the relatives and non-relative extended family members who are taking care of their younger family members in the foster care system. We call this Kinship care.

Kinship care is recognized as the full-time protection and nurture of children by relatives, members of their Tribes or clans, godparents, stepparents, fictive kin or non-related extended family members. The definition is inclusive and respectful of cultural values and ties of affection. Whether formally through child protective services or informally through family arrangements, kinship care aims to reduce the trauma of family separation and provide cultural and community ties. Within this definition there are two populations of kinship families:

  • Informal, where children live with grandparents or other relatives and are not in the custody of a public child welfare agency;
  • Formal, where children are in the care of a relative or non-related extended family member and in the custody of a public child welfare agency.

Whether informally arranged among family members or formally supported by the child welfare system, it is essential to affirm and support the considerable contributions of kinship caregivers.

To learn more Kinship Care, please visit our Kinship Support Services page or check out this article on 5 Things to Know About Kinship Care during National Kinship Care Month.