The Importance of Kinship
Research shows that children in kinship care generally have better mental and physical health, fewer behavior problems, higher levels of competence, more satisfaction with placement, and better outcomes as adults. Every child deserves to have love and stability in their life.
All children have caring and capable kin who are willing to support them when needed. These unique attachments are critical to a child's connection to their culture, community and family. Emphasizing a child’s connections while ensuring safety, rather than solely prioritizing timeframes in efforts to achieve permanency, is critical. By statute, Ohio agencies must work with the family to explore relative options and conduct assessments to determine their willingness and ability to care for the child. This strengthens and preserves families, prevents future maltreatment, and significantly improves a child’s foster care experience.
Barriers to kinship can happen in the judicial process when the child welfare system focuses on meeting the system’s needs and not on the youth or family's needs. This Kin-First Culture in the Courtroom effort seeks to leverage champions in the judicial community to help by providing a resource library, training, and peer support opportunities. The effort kicked off with a convening on January 11 in Columbus. Read about it here.