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July/August 2010Vol. 11, No. 6The Rise in Kinship Adoption

A new issue brief created by ChildFocus and the North American Council on Adoptable Children, Kinship Adoption: Meeting the Unique Needs of a Growing Population, was developed to draw attention to and explore the needs of children adopted by their relatives. The issue brief points out that the number of children in foster care finding permanent homes with relatives is steadily growing—up from 21 percent in 2000 to 30 percent in 2008. The authors look at why this trend persists and how agencies can promote and support kinship adoption.

Why is kinship adoption on the rise? The authors point to:

  • Increased recognition of the benefits of kinship care for children
  • State and Federal preferences for kinship care
  • Placement with relatives in order to keep children out of foster care
  • Recognition that relatives will adopt if it is in the best interests of the children

According to the brief, some of the benefits of kinship adoption include kinship caregivers' unique knowledge about the child and the family dynamics and the greater likelihood of children maintaining some kind of connection with their birth parents, if desired.

How can agencies best support kinship adoption? The authors point to the need to:

  • Fully prepare kinship families for the adoption
  • Approach the assessment and training differently with kin than with unrelated prospective families
  • Ensure postpermanency services are open to kinship families
  • Develop kinship competence in staff to overcome general assumptions
  • Educate families on flexible kinship licensing policies

The full issue brief is available on the ChildFocus website: (523 KB)