Helping Agencies Prioritize Kinship Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Updated on July 30, 2020 and originally posted July 14, 2020 by the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Kinship family playing outside

The COVID-19 pan­dem­ic has sparked eco­nom­ic tur­moil, leav­ing child wel­fare agen­cies brac­ing for bud­get cuts at the local, state and fed­er­al level.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s lat­est fact sheet, writ­ten for child wel­fare agen­cies nation­wide, explores how kin­ship care can sup­port chil­dren and how agen­cies can sup­port kin fam­i­lies dur­ing these chal­leng­ing times.

Kin­ship care­givers — often grand­par­ents, but also aunts, uncles, friends of the fam­i­ly and oth­ers — offer a cru­cial life­line for kids who are unable to live with their par­ents. These care­givers are unique­ly posi­tioned to cul­ti­vate rela­tion­ships and attach­ments that pro­mote child well-being.

Being cared for in a home by peo­ple with a nat­ur­al con­nec­tion to a child or teen reduces trau­ma and pro­motes heal­ing dur­ing a time of tremen­dous emo­tion­al, psy­cho­log­i­cal and social upheaval,” says San­dra Gas­ca-Gon­za­lez, vice pres­i­dent of the Casey Foundation’s Cen­ter for Sys­tems Innovation.

Beyond high­light­ing the mer­its of kin­ship care with­in this cri­sis, the fact sheet also iden­ti­fies fund­ing sources and strate­gic part­ner­ships that can shore up resources for fam­i­lies and caregivers.

Pri­or­i­tiz­ing kin­ship care is one of the best uses of agency resources. Kin care improves child and fam­i­ly well-being and — at the same time — keeps chil­dren out of cost­ly, devel­op­men­tal­ly inap­pro­pri­ate con­gre­gate place­ments,” Gas­ca-Gon­za­lez says. Most impor­tant, engag­ing fam­i­lies in car­ing for chil­dren strength­ens fam­i­ly ties and keeps kids safe and thriving.”

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