In the U.S, almost 2.7 million children are currently being raised by kin—family members other than their parents. These families have been formed through both formal and informal processes. For the wellbeing of these children and their families, as well as for the professionals who serve them, we must take a more critical look at the current practices of kinship care and adoption.
Before formal adoption policies were established either in the United States or abroad, kinship care was a common practice in most cultures around the world. For centuries, when parents felt unable to raise a child or protect their safety for a period of time or indefinitely, they often reached out to relatives to step in and care for a child or children . This common practice of relying on relatives to help raise children still exists alongside formalized domestic and international adoption and foster care programs. However, because of these informal roots, many involved in kinship care and adoption are not receiving the necessary support to make permanent placement for these children secure and successful. Today there is often a gap in understanding how to address the needs of children who have experienced hardship and trauma and a lack of consistency in how to best support and educate families stepping in to care for these children.
This Resource Guide was developed by the Office
on Child Abuse and Neglect (OCAN) within the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services’ Children’s
Bureau, Child Welfare Information Gateway, and the
FRIENDS National Center for Community-Based Child
Abuse Prevention. OCAN released its first Resource
Guide more than 15 years ago with the goal of raising
awareness about emerging child abuse prevention
concepts. It was created primarily to support communitybased
service providers who work to prevent child
maltreatment and promote family well-being. However,
over the years many others—including policymakers,
health-care providers, program administrators, teachers,
child care providers, parent leaders, mentors, and clergy—have found the resources useful.
Legal and Financial Differences Between Adoption and Kinship Legal Guardianship (KLG)
The New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF) Division of Child Protection and Permanency (CP&P) strives to support all youth in care to achieve legal permanency
through reunification, adoption, or kinship legal guardianship (KLG). This document outlines legal and financial information regarding adoption and KLG. Additional information is
provided regarding policy, practice, and supports related to non-permanency CP&P case goals to provide a full picture of permanency options available
Family Matters: Multigenerational living is on the rise and here to stay.
Our results are clear: multigenerational living is indeed on the rise in 2021, with more than 1 in 4
Americans (26%) living in a household with 3 or more generations. Given our finding in 2011 that 7
percent of Americans lived in a multigenerational household,4 this means that multigenerational living
has nearly quadrupled in the past decade (a 271 percent increase from 20115 to 2021). This finding is
incredibly striking, and our survey reveals some of the impetus for this staggering growth.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact every aspect of our lives. This public health emergency has presented unprecedented challenges to our schools and communities. In June, the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) released The Road Back: Restart and Recovery Plan providing necessary information and considerations for a return to in-person instruction to our school district leaders. Since the provision of those guidelines, districts have made difficult decisions regarding the safe reopening of their schools based upon local needs assessments, staffing capacities, current enrollment numbers, and the unique physical structures within each school. New Jersey students and educators returned to school utilizing operational models such as: hybrid learning, remote instruction, or full in-person instruction. While districts have approached the challenge of school reopening in a variety of ways, all school communities are facing the same fundamental reality that their students and staff have endured, and continue to endure, significant stress and trauma as a result of the ongoing pandemic.
Supporting People and Families Across the Lifespan
Respite is a service that offers a short-term break for caregivers that regularly provide support to a child, adult, or senior family member with a disability or chronic health care need.
Respite may be planned, providing scheduled services to allow for intermittent breaks from caregiving, or may be available on an emergency basis in the case of unexpected life events that would negatively impact the individual receiving care. Emergencies could include a personal health crisis, job loss, or housing problem experienced by the caregiver.
Respite can be provided in a variety of settings, including:
In the family’s/individual’s home
In the respite provider’s home
Group homes or supervised apartments
Existing day care centers
Adult day programs
Both inside and outside the child welfare system, the probability that African American children will live in grandfamilies is more than double that of the overall population, with one in five African American children living in grandfamilies at some point during their childhood.