Kinship Caregiver Roles, Rights, and Responsibilities

What is the Purpose of Kinship Care?

The purpose of Kinship Care is to ensure that all children who must live apart from their parents are placed in a safe, healthy and nurturing environment. Whenever possible, BCDSS first seeks to place children with relatives who know and love them. Kinship placements can reduce the trauma children experience and hasten the path to permanency.

What is the Goal of Kinship Care?

Services are provided to the children’s parents, to the children and to the kinship parent or caregiver. The goal of kinship care is to safely return the child to their parents as soon as possible. If return to the birth parents is not possible, the local department will work with the kinship parent or caregiver to become the permanent legal guardian either through adoption, or legal custody and guardianship. We discuss the many rewards and benefits kinship parents can experience in making a permanent commitment to a child.

How does Kinship Care get Involved?

Families are referred to Kinship Care once a child is committed to BCDSS by a court. A BCDSS worker will meet with the child, the parent and the kinship parent or caregiver to create a service plan to build on the family’s strengths and meet their unique needs. Services are provided without regard to income.

What are the Future Plans for the Child?

Foster care is a temporary arrangement which gives children a sense of safety, stability and forever family. BCDSS immediately begins working with relative caregivers, parents and children to develop a permanent plan for the child.

A child’s permanency plan will depend on many factors but could include:

  • Return home to parent(s);
  • Placement with a relative to whom adoption, custody and/ or guardianship is granted;
  • Adoption by the current relative caregiver, approved foster parent or an otherwise approved adoptive family; or
  • Guardianship by a non-relative caregiver
  • Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement (APPLA)

What Rights and Responsibilities do Parents Have?

Parents remain the most important people in a child’s life, even while a child is in foster care. It is
important that parents actively engage with the assigned worker to plan for the child’s future.

The following are certain rights and responsibilities parents have while their child is placed in Kinship

  • To visit the child regularly as planned with the worker and kinship parent or caregiver
  • To attend Court reviews conducted by the local department
  • To received all available and appropriate assistance from the local department, which includes FIM’s
  • To be involved in important changes and events in the child’s life
  • To get reports from the worker on the child’s health and development, progress in school, and behavior
  • To prepare with the worker a service agreement
  • To cooperate with the local department in fulfilling the terms of the service agreement
  • To assure that the child’s caregiver has legal responsibility

What are my Rights as a Kinship Caregiver?

  • To receive respect and courtesy from the agency’s representative;
  • To have the option to apply for TCA and other benefits or become a Licensed or Restricted Foster Parent;
  • To discuss the permanency plan with the worker and speak to any concern regarding the committed child; and
  • To request and receive (as it is available), assistance with supportive services such as day care, in home aide services, and emergency assistance.
  • To decide whether or not you want to be a foster parent.

What are Relative or Kin Caregivers’ Responsibilities?

A kinship parent or caregiver plays a very important role in a child’s life. Teamwork and cooperation are the keys to providing appropriate care for them.

We expect the following from kinship parent or caregiver:

  • Develop a nurturing relationship with the child which allows healthy growth and expression
  • Ensure that the children are taken to preventive health care visits (initial health screening and comprehensive exams) and follow-up treatment as necessary
  • Ensure that the children are registered in school and work with the school on their behalf
  • Participate in the health and safety assessment of your home
  • Cooperate with the local department in fulfilling the terms of the services agreement, which includes visits with the parents and siblings, and planning for the child’s future
  • Welcome the worker’s monthly visit
  • Participate in the Kinship Care orientation, and ongoing training; support group activities
  • Provide updated information pertaining to the child’s care
  • Agree to a criminal background check for all adults in your home (all fees paid by Department of Human Services)
  • Agree to physical and mental health assessments
  • Participate in Family Involvement Meetings (FIM) that is initiated by the local department

New kinship parents and caregivers can expect to receive a call from the agency in a few business days
to explain the process for applying to become an approved restricted resource parent to the youth in
your care.

What can you Expect from BCDSS?

The worker will assess with you any needs the children may have so that a plan of action can be put into

Services we provide include but are not limited to the following:

  • Counseling and guidance in resolving family or parental problems that are currently preventing the return of the children to parents;
  • Medical Assistance for the children;
  • Visiting and monitoring the home to make sure that the children receive;
  • Age-appropriate supervision and care from the relative or kin caregiver;
  • Assistance and support in assuring that the children are placed in an appropriate school setting that will address their needs;
  • Information and referral to services and resources that will help the family meet its needs;
  • Social and emotional support for the family, parents, children and relative caregiver; and
  • Aftercare Services.