What is Kinship?
For millennia, extended families and kin networks have cared for children whose parents are experiencing challenges or are in need of support. As part of the changes in child welfare, agencies across Ontario are implementing practices that will increase the utilization of these extended family and kin networks to provide care for vulnerable children.
Kinship Service allows child welfare agencies to provide services that ensure child safety in circumstances where the child is not in the care of an agency and remains within his/her family or community. Staff thoroughly screen and assess prospective extended family or community caregivers to evaluate the capacity of the family or community member to care for the child in a safe home environment. Whenever possible, the assessment takes place before the child moves into the kinship home. It includes completing criminal record and child welfare records checks on any person over the age of 18 living in the home, a personal interview with the proposed caregiver, a private interview with the child (depending on the child’s age and developmental capacity), and a thorough assessment of the home environment. New provincial kinship service standards are intended to meet the safety needs of children and to promote permanency for children who receive child protection services and are being cared for by members of their extended family or community. They are intended to result in care and support that is consistent with family and community traditions for children unable to remain with their family because of protection concerns.
Kinship care is provided for children who are in the care of a child welfare agency and are placed with a member of their extended family or community. The standard for assessing and preparing prospective kinship care families is the same as that for evaluating all foster or adoptive caregiver applicants. Families are thoroughly assessed using a process and tools called SAFE (Structured Analysis Family Evaluation) that assists in determining their capacity to meet a child’s needs for safety, well being and permanence.
Families also participate in an intensive 27-hour preparation program called PRIDE (Parent Resources for Information, Development and Education). Through PRIDE, kinship families learn about issues related to attachment, loss, child development, effective parenting strategies, teamwork and the impact of placement on family relationships. Kinship care families receive ongoing agency support that enables them to provide safe, nurturing care for a child on either a temporary or long term basis. When reunification with the child’s primary family is not possible, the kinship family may provide permanent care for the child through adoption or legal custody.
* source taken from www.oacas.org
CANGRANDS KINSHIP NATIONAL SUPPORT
Betty Cornelius is the founder of CANGRANDS KINSHIP NATIONAL SUPPORT, a national grass-roots organization dedicated to providing information and support to the 75,000 kinship children being raised by grandparents and other kinship family members. Betty has grown CANGRANDS, www.cangrands.com into two internet support groups, plus 25 chapters across Canada.
When drug addiction, mental illness, death, imprisonment and other troubles prevent parents from raising their children, kinship is the next best option. Pressures on kinships' finances, physical and mental health take significant tolls. Grandparenting guru, Dr. Arthur Kornhaber says kids reared by grandparents speak of their upbringings in unusually spiritual terms by talking about gratitude, love, the sense of a blessing and a sense of being rescued.
Betty works tirelessly providing encouragement, and moral and emotional support to kinship families.
Watch the trailer to the GrandParenting documentary below!