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A common occurrence across generations and cultures is when grandparents, other relatives, or close family friends take on the role of primary caregiver for children whose biological parents can no longer care for them. Situations like this are commonly referred to as kinship or relative care.  

In situations where children cannot remain safely with their biological parents, other family or friends can provide a sense of security, positive identity, and belonging by maintaining strong family, community and cultural connections. 

Kinship and relative care situations are unique and often benefit from tailored supports that can help navigate specific needs and challenges.


Minnesota Specific:

Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota: Kinship Family Support Services:
Statewide Warmline: 877-917-4640 or 651-917-4640 
(The below information is directly from their webpage)
Kinship Family Support Services, a program of Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, offers education and support to those who are caring for the child of a sibling, daughter, son, extended family member, family friend or neighbor. 

  1. Warmline to help caregivers connect by phone (877-917-4640 or 651-917-4640 )with legal, financial and medical supports 
  2. Support and Education Groups and opportunities to find solidarity and resources 
  3. Workshops to inform caregivers 
  4. Family Circle Conferences to bridge communication for kinship families 
  5. Referrals to other Minnesota, and national, kinship focused support options

PACER Center: Grandparent to Grandparent Program: 
The below information is directly from their webpage:
The Grandparent to Grandparent Program reflects PACER’s mission to improve and expand opportunities that enhance the quality of life for children and young adults with disabilities and their families. While there are services in the community to meet the needs of children and parents, the grandparents are often an underserved population. PACER Center recognizes that a grandparent’s life is impacted by the birth of a child with a disability.¬†

Online Resources:

Child Welfare Information Gateway:  Supporting Kinship Families:
These links provide resources, for both caseworkers and for kinship caregivers, on the support kinship families need to be successful. Resources include kinship navigator programs, handbooks, and information about issues common to kinship families. The section also provides information on support groups, training, and supporting kinship caregivers who adopt. 

Child Welfare Information Gateway:  Kinship Caregivers and the Child Welfare System: 
(The below information is directly from their webpage)
 Kinship Caregivers and the Child Welfare System
¬†A number of grandparents and other relatives find themselves serving as parents for children whose own parents are unable to care for them. Sometimes, the arrangement (referred to as ‚Äúkinship care‚ÄĚ) is an informal, private arrangement between the parents and relative caregivers; in other situations, the child welfare system is involved. This factsheet is designed to help kinship caregivers‚ÄĒincluding grandparents, aunts and uncles, and other relatives caring for children‚ÄĒ work effectively with the child welfare system.¬†¬†¬†

(The below information is directly from their webpage)
Preserving Family Ties And Heritage For Future Generations.
Goals/Objectives: Bringing together grandparents/relative caregivers, to provide them with the education and tools, to enable them to provide 24/7 safety and permanency for the children in their care, while at the same time preserving their family ties and heritage for future generations. 

Children’s Bureau: Supporting Kinship Caregivers Part 1 
(The below information is directly from their webpage)
Kinship care is the most preferred resource for children who must be removed from their birth parents because it maintains family connections. Approximately one-fourth of children in out-of-home care live with relatives. There are many services and resources kinship caregivers are eligible for, but many caregivers are not aware of or lack access to those services. 

This podcast is the first of a two-part series showcasing successful examples of kinship navigator programs connecting kinship families with available services. 

It features interviews with the following individuals: 

  • Serita Cox, co-founder and executive director,¬†iFoster

Listen to the discussion and learn about the following: 

  • How the project identified informal caregivers¬†
  • How caregivers and child welfare professionals used the project‚Äôs online portal¬†
  • Findings from the project‚Äôs evaluation¬†
  • Caregivers’ openness to accessing a self-serve collection of resources¬†

The podcast also includes tips and must-haves to guide agencies and communities interested in increasing awareness of and access to the resources kinship families may be eligible for. 


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