September is National Kinship Care Month – a time to recognize, celebrate and support the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other relatives (as well as non-relatives with a meaningful connection to the child or family) who care for children when they cannot safely remain with their parents.
It is critically important for these children to be able to live with someone they know, trust, and have a connection to, as these relationships provide a sense of security, community, cultural identity, and can reduce the trauma of being removed from their home. Unfortunately, not all children who are removed from their parents are provided the opportunity to live with kin.
National Kinship Care Month is a reminder that we must work together to find policy solutions to keep children connected to their kin. Additionally, we should thank those caregivers who are supporting abused or neglected children both inside and outside of the child welfare system.
Pennsylvania’s KinConnector program provides valuable resources to kin who are caring for children formally through the child welfare system, or informally. Every Wednesday in September, the program is hosting virtual information forums on a variety of topics of interest: financial assistance, legal rights, education and child care, and mental health, among others. Registration for these events is now open to the public.