Superheroes who became Kinship families a How to Guide.
Kinship Care What you Need to Know.
A How to Guide to Being a Kinship Care Foster Parent for a Friend or Family Member.
When looking at Kinship Care in Virginia and the family members that step up to help a child or siblings in a time of need, these are the true superheroes within our community, it is essential to acknowledge the outstanding help they give to a potential foster child and help them to stay out of the local Department of Social Services (DSS)foster care system. A family member is always inspiring to us when they request guidance and how they can help return a child to the family unit.
If you are looking to help a family member who may be about to lose custody of a child for whatever reason, this how-to guide may help.
When custody has already been taken or is in the early stages of removal, it's essential to remember this is a legal process and, as such, has many rules you must follow as the court, and the social workers are in a rigid framework.
The more you understand the structure of the process, the stronger your hand to play will be later. These rules are designed to make sure the child is safe from harm and in the best place for the child's welfare and future development. The Commonwealth of Virginia believes that family is where a child should stay, so Kinship Care is a great option.
One of the challenges of Kinship Care is that Virginia does not embrace this effort across all counties. So I would recommend checking with your local DSS to make sure this is an option they will be willing to work within. In 2018 only 1.54% of kids in Virginia care were in Kinship Care, where 32% in 2016 lived in a relative foster home in the USA, so Virginia is a long way behind in this concept, but the law is in place, so it is an option.
So the steps to Kinship Care are as follows:
- Make sure all your household is on board as this is a great responsibility
- Talk to the biological parents to see if they will support the idea or not
- Contact DSS in your local county
- If DSS is in agreement with the plan, get it formalized within a Kinship Guardianship Assistance Agreement. Make sure you have all the support upfront, you have the right to have strong support for the future fight for your child's rights. It is hard to go back to the DSS and add items later, which can be done, but much harder as DSS wants you to take the child into your family.
- The courts will sign off on the order, and Kinship will begin.
I hope this helps with your decision to put your name forward for being a safety net for a child you care for deeply.
So a little fun to end the blog here:
What do John Lennon , Nicole Richie , Jamie Foxx , Skrillex " Sonny John More ," Jack Nicholson , Eric Clapton , Ice T , Simone Biles all have in common?
They are just a few fantastic people who have been raised by Kinship Care:
- John Lenon from the Beatles was adopted by his Aunt
- Nicole Richie was adopted by Lionel and Brenda Richie (Friends)
- Jamie Foxx was adopted by his grandparents
- Skrillex Sonny John More by a family friend
- Jack Nicholson was adopted by his grandmother, and he did not know he was adopted and that his sister was his mother until after his parents died.
- Eric Clapton was adopted by his grandmother and did not know his sister was his mother until he was 9.
- Ice T was raised by his Aunt after the demise of both his parents due to heart attacks.
- Simone Biles was adopted by her grandparents.
Comic characters who were adopted or fostered by Kinship Care.
- Harry Potter was raised by his terrible Aunt and uncle (Don't be like them)
- Tony Stark Ironman was adopted
- Tarzan was raised by Kail, a gorilla
- Last but not least, Superman was raised by the Kent Family and saved the world many times....
In the Commonwealth of Virginia, the legal framework is under § 63.2-1305. As I am not a lawyer or want to be, you can always go to the code to make your interpretation, but these thoughts are my own.
These are some broad rules to gain a Kinship Guardianship Assistance program help.
- The child was removed from the home.
- The child is eligible for foster care maintenance payments
- The Child being returned home or adopted is not a good plan
- The child shows a "strong" attachment to the prospective kinship guardian
- The child if over 14 and has been talked to about kinship care opportunity
To get support, financial or other ways the possible kinship guardian must sign a kinship guardianship assistance agreement which has been negotiated by the DSS and must contain the following:
The amount of, and the manner in which the assistance payment will be provided and when and how this payment may be adjusted.
Any additional services or assistance, if any, the child or kinship guardian would be eligible for under this agreement.
Kinship guardians may apply for additional services as needed.
DSS shall pay up to $2000 in nonrecurring expenses associated with obtaining kinship guardianship of the child.
The agreement shall also give assurances that the agreement shall remain in effect without regard to the state of residency of the kinship guardian.
The last point related to you is that kinship guardianship assistance payment. This payment can not be more than what foster parents receive; please see "how much do foster parents get paid to blog," i.e., the VEMAT will help with this matter.
The Commonwealth of Virginia knows that having children raised with Kinship produces the best outcome for children in care. It is essential to review all avenues. If the kinship family is a good fit and would struggle financially, that is why the kinship assistance payment was instituted.
Currently, there are nearly 5,400 children in foster care in Virginia, of all years of age. Some are placed in foster families, and others in group homes. Some foster youth unfortunately can be bounced around from home to home with little to no chance of finding adoptive parents or adoptive families or a permanent family.
The goal of foster care is to always return the child to their biological family. If you are ready to care for a child, that someone in your family is about to lose custody of, please make it known and become a kinship family.