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April 2022Vol. 23, No. 3New Publication Explains Kinship Caregiving Options Inside and Outside Child Welfare

A new publication from the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law describes the different placement options available to kinship care families and the factors that should be considered when pursuing kin caregiving arrangements.

Kinship Caregiving Options: Considerations for Caregivers is a 14-page guide developed primarily for relatives caring for or planning to care for their kin, but it is also a useful tool for professionals working with these families. It begins with a brief overview of the need for and prevalence of kin caregiving in the United States and the importance and benefits of this practice. 

It also describes the main paths to kinship care—inside and outside the child welfare system—and addresses the considerations associated with each. The publication presents considerations in the following areas by placement type (inside the child welfare system/licensed, inside the child welfare system/not licensed, and outside the child welfare system):
  • Help with decision-making about caregiving options
  • Legal assistance
  • Parental rights and responsibilities
  • Relationship with birth parents
  • Children's health-care consent authority and insurance
  • Children's education
  • Oversight from the child welfare and judicial systems
  • Foster home licensure
  • Sources and availability of assistance, including financial aid and child welfare agency and community-based supports
  • Kinship navigator programs
  • Federal and state child tax credits
  • Long-term permanency options, including financial assistance and other supports and services
The publication also includes bulleted tips for caregivers and the professionals working with kin, a glossary of common terms, and a page of additional resources from, such as factsheets (in English and Spanish) that provide kin caregivers with state-specific data and information about public benefits, educational assistance, legal relationship options, and laws.