Family Builders of Catawba Valley acknowledges and supports the importance of the family in meeting the needs of its members. When children cannot be assured safety in their own homes, the best alternative resource can often be found within the extended family and other “kin.”
Kinship is the self-defined relationship between two or more people and is based on biological, legal, and/or strong family-like ties. Most people have loosely structured kinship networks that are available in times of difficulty. Parents and guardians facing the risk of child placement should be given a reasonable opportunity to identify and come together with their kinship network to plan for and provide safety, care, nurture, and supervision for the child. The agency has the responsibility of assessing the suggested resource to assure that the child will receive appropriate care.
Informal kinship care arrangements are commonplace in times of shared crisis for many families. Such arrangements are most effective when other members of the family and community resources provide emotional and tangible support to the care provider.
When a DSS becomes involved in a family, informal kinship supports may not exist and the family may be too embarrassed or angry to seek such support. For instance, during a child protective services investigative assessment, a DSS may require the parent to choose and arrange for a temporary placement for their child in order to protect the child from further harm.
Agency staff may need to help the temporary care provider locate and develop support and resources needed in caring for the child. In addition, the agency shall remain involved with the family providing placement and the birth family until the child’s ongoing safety is assured and the placement is legally secure or until the DSS files petition for custody. These informal arrangements are NOT legally secure for the child or for the caregiver.