Why Are Kinship Placements Important For A Child?

Why are Kinship Placements important for a child?

Why Is Kinship Care Necessary for a Family and a Child?

Family members helping out family members in Virginia.

There has always been a history of family members assisting and supporting each other in times of need. In most cultures, this is the norm. Therefore, the Virginia foster care system has started incorporating kinship care as a permanency option for children.

Statistics show that although millions of children in the world were raised by kin without a birth parent, roughly 120,000 (about 5%) of these children reside with relatives who are foster parents.

Research shows that living in a foster home with relatives is better for children and benefits them in several ways.

Minimizes trauma 

Having a child placed with relatives can decrease the amount of trauma a child endures from being removed. When a child is removed from their home, they lose so much of themselves. They are uprooted from their parents, house, siblings, friends, school, pets, routine, etc.

Suppose a child is placed with a family member. In that case, it not only diminishes this loss but also provides a better chance for sibling sets to stay together. Furthermore, relatives usually live in the same neighborhood, allowing consistent care to include the same school, community, and routine. This also provides the child with the comfort of living with someone they know and strengthening an already established relationship.

Improves children’s well-being 

A child in the care of a relative usually experiences more stability, has fewer placement disruptions, and fewer changes in schooling. Relatives are more inclined to support the child through difficult situations and provide more chances to the children who may demonstrate problematic behaviors. Youth generally express more satisfaction with their placement and are less likely to go AWOL when placed with a relative.

Increases permanency for children 

With a kinship placement, caregivers can provide higher levels of permanency than other foster families can. Children are less likely to re-enter foster care when living with relatives. Relatives can provide care by gaining guardianship, legal custody, or adoption.

Improves behavioral and mental health outcomes 

Kinship placements positively affect the child’s emotional, behavioral, and mental health outcomes. Children in foster care have fewer behavioral concerns when placed with relatives. They are also predicted to have more positive mental health as an adult. Those placed in kinship care sooner also have fewer behavioral concerns than those placed in care after a significant time in foster care.

Promotes sibling ties 

A critical benefit of kinship care is the increased likelihood of the youth living with or staying connected to siblings. In most situations, when sibling sets enter into care, it is optimal if they remain together and spend time together.

Provides a bridge for older youth 

Building a relationship or bond with family or other supportive adults can be crucial for a child’s growth. Children need permanent, emotionally stable, and committed connections with others to reach independence. A positive family dynamic reduces many negative behaviors, such as homelessness and criminal involvement.

Preserves children’s cultural identity and community connections 

Kinship care also ensures that the child stays connected to their culture. They also maintain relationships that they have in the community. Children can stay connected to their extended family and hold onto their beliefs. Being placed with kin provides a sense of belonging and connection.

When placed with a relative, children continue to have a connection with their family of origin. The foster care system and social services must address the needs of kinship caregivers in Virginia to help children achieve permanency and continue to thrive in their environment.




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