Four Things to Know as We Celebrate Kinship Care in Pennsylvania

    Celebrating Kinship Care in Pennsylvania    
SEPTEMBER 2, 2022    
Four Things to Know as We Celebrate Kinship Care in Pennsylvania  

Every child deserves a safe, supportive, and permanent family. At the same time, every family should have the support of a strong and caring community, especially in cases where caregivers have opened their homes to adoption, foster children, or kinship care.
September is National Kinship Care Month.

Kinship care refers to caregivers — grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, adult siblings, and even family friends — who make the selfless choice to take on traditional parenting responsibilities when biological parents cannot.  The Pennsylvania KinConnector program works in all 67 counties of the commonwealth to uplift these families by providing education, support, and resources to grandparents and other relatives who are raising children. The KinConnector helpline (1-866-KIN-2111) is staffed by knowledgeable, compassionate social service professionals with access to these much-needed resources.   In the United States, there are more than 2.7 million children living with relatives. In Pennsylvania alone, more than 200,000 children are in kinship care. Often, when a child enters foster care, child welfare agencies will first turn to that child’s relatives for placement. This is done to help the child maintain important connections with within the family. In honor of National Kinship Care Month, this is the perfect time to celebrate and support all of Pennsylvania’s kinship families.       
LEARN MORE ABOUT PA KINSHIP CARE   Call the PA KinConnector Support Line Today!
The helpline is available from 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
(Assistance is available in both English and Spanish.)        4 Things to Know about
Kinship Care In Pennsylvania.

1. There are two types of kinship care.

There’s informal kinship care, as well as formal kinship care. Some children might be placed with their relatives privately (informal), while others are formally placed in kinship care by a child welfare agency (public kinship care or kinship foster care). 

2. There are many reasons why children end up in kinship care.

In recent years, the opioid epidemic and parental substance use has caused an increase in the need for kinship care, but it is just one of many reasons that kinship families come together. Other reasons kinship families form might include parental military deployment, incarceration, mental or physical illness, and death. Whatever the cause, when parents are unable to care for their children, these caregivers often step in at a moment’s notice to keep families together. 

3. A biological parent can still maintain a connection with their child during kinship care. Learn more: Parental Roles  When biological parents are not able to take on the traditional responsibilities of parenting, there are a number of roles they can assume that match their abilities, and allow them to maintain a positive connection with their children. 

  4. There are resources available to kinship caregivers  Find Kinship Services available in your County  PA KinConnector helps to assist kinship caregivers by providing information on financial assistance, legal information and referrals, and other issues caregivers face when raising children to provide stability and permanency in the home.

Resources available to Kinship Families 

Behavioral Health Services  Child care  Find Child Care & Other Early Learning Programs — PA KinConnector Child Care Works Subsidized Child Care Program —  DHS PA 211 Family Resources  Clothing  PA 211 Clothing & Household Resources  Food Assistance  Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — DHS Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) — DHS National School Lunch Program — PA Dept. of Education PA 211 Food Assistance Resources  Health Care Services  Medical Assistance (Medicaid) — DHS Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) — DHS Financial Services  Unemployment Compensation  — PA. Dept. of Labor and Industry Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) — DHS Housing Resources — DHS PA 211 Housing & Shelter  Legal services  DHS Legal Resources  PA 211 Legal Services  Senior Law Center   School Support  Early Childhood Education — DHS Early Learning Resource Centers (ELRC)  — The Pennsylvania Key  Online Resources for FamiliesPA Dept. of Education  Support for Families  Virtual Support GroupsPA KinConnector  Trainings  Kinship Family Trainings — PA KinConnector

Training for Child Care Professionals — PA KinConnector       Doctor Joseph Crumbley
Save the Date! Free Family Strengths Training Webinars
“The Inherent Strengths of Kinship Care” • Dates: September 15, 22, & 29, 2022 
• Time: 10 a.m.-Noon
• Presenter: Dr. Joseph Crumbley, internationally renowned kinship expert, consultant, and author.

          More from DHS  

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