Kinship Caregivers Play a Vital Role in North Carolina

In a crisis, most of us turn instinctively to the people we know we can count on, no matter what the problem is. We turn to family.

This is something child welfare agencies in North Carolina understand. When a child or youth enters foster care, family members and “like-family” friends are often the first ones agencies approach to care for the youth until they can safely return home.

Families often say yes. Of the more than 11,600 children in DSS custody at the end of July 2019, 2,636 (22.7%) were being cared for by a relative.

Kin caregivers are often grateful for the chance to help. Yet there are also challenges. Many wrestle with changing family dynamics and are unclear about their role with the courts, schools, and therapists. They struggle with questions such as, What happens if the children can’t return home? Where can I turn if I need help?

We hope this issue of Fostering Perspectives is informative to all of our readers. By learning more about kinship care, we hope you will be better positioned to provide the encouragement, information, and support kin caregivers so richly deserve.