Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth are overrepresented in the homeless population. According to a growing body of research and study, a conservative estimate is
that one out of every five homeless youth (20 percent) is LGBT-identified. This is greatly disproportionate
to the estimated percentage of LGBT youth in the general population which is somewhere between 4 and 10 percent.1 Research indicates that each year, hundreds of thousands
of LGBT youth will experience homelessness. Most LGBT youth become homeless because of
family abuse, neglect, or conflict over their identity. Many homeless LGBT youth were kicked
out of their homes while others ran from foster and group homes because they were mistreated
There is a growing consensus that group care is not beneficial for children except in time-limited therapeutic settings to meet specific treatment needs.
Unfortunately, most communities lack a robust network of foster family homes. Given this reality, many child welfare agencies are redoubling their efforts to identify
and engage kin as foster parents.
Despite the strong value of kinship foster care, major impediments still exist to finding, engaging, and placing children with kin when they must be removed
from their parents’ care. Efforts must be made to help children maintain important family connections and support, and to tailor services and assistance to address
the unique needs of kinship foster families, while still working toward the goal of reunification with parents.
This wikiHow draws on wisdom from the field about the seven steps to creating a kin first culture – one in which child welfare systems consistently promote kinship
placement, help children in foster care maintain connections with their family, and tailor services and supports to the needs of kinship foster families.
Attaining legal permanence is not always about finding a new family.
In some instances, it is about legally re-defining roles of existing family
members or establishing legal relationships with other adults who have a
family-like relationship with children through guardianship. Although
different from adoption, the adjustment to these newly defined responsibilities
can be just as complicated, including the need to address
children’s trauma and the changes in family dynamics. Social service
professionals can better serve guardianship families by learning about the
dynamics of the family’s permanent relationships, factors that influenced
their decision-making in choosing the guardianship option, and how those
decisions might affect the family’s current situation.
Today’s society is recognizing the experiences and needs of transgender people as never before. This trend is most evident in our nation’s schools, where an increasing number of transgender and gender-expansive students live openly as their authentic selves. At the same time, parents, students, educators, administrators and other stakeholders are working together to determine the best ways to support these
In New Jersey and across the country, many grandparents
and relatives are providing care to children who are unable to
live with their birth parents. Parenting can be challenging as
a lot may have changed since you raised your own
child. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Many agencies
and organizations can offer you assistance in dealing with
problems all caregivers have. Below are just a few links to
resources that may be able to assist.
In addition, DCF provides publications about parenting and other topics of interest to
families. All literature is provided at no cost and may be ordered in reasonable
quantities. Click on the publications link to the right to download or order materials.
Definition and Incidence
Kinship care is a living arrangement in which a relative or
another person who is emotionally close to a child takes
on primary responsibility for raising that child (Leos-
Urbel, Bess, & Geen, 1999). According to the 2000 U.S.
Census, nationally, there are 4.5 million children under
the age of 18 living in grandparent-maintained
households, and another 1.5 million children under 18
living in other relative-maintained households (U.S.
Census Bureau, 2002 as Cited in Generations United,
2003). Several types of kinship care arrangements exist:
formal kinship care, informal
As the number of children in kinship care increase child welfare agencies are seeking policies,
programs and practice guidance to help develop and implement effective kinship care policies
and programs. Child welfare agencies are taking a new look at the nature of kinship care, the role
of kinship care as a child welfare service, and the relationship among kinship care family
preservation and out-of-home care. Many agencies are beginning to address a number of policy
and practice issues.