If a child is not able to live at home, Children’s Aid Societies look for extended family so children and youth can live safely with people they know and are comfortable with. When children and youth live with and are cared for by members of their extended family, kin, a family friend, or someone in their community, this is referred to as a kinship arrangement.
Kinship arrangements support children and youth to maintain connection to their family and heritage, help them remain in their community, support their identity, and help them maintain their ethnicity, culture, and family traditions. Kinship can include neighbours, teachers, or any member of a child’s community with whom the child has an established relationship. It doesn’t need to be a direct relative.
Kinship arrangements can either be “in care” of a Children’s Aid Society” or “out of care.”
Once potential caregivers have been found, they are assessed to understand their ability to meet the needs of a child, as if they were the parents in the interim and long term if needed. The goal is to reconnect the child with their parents as quickly as possible, but the hope is that if the child cannot return to their biological parents, the kinship caregiver/family will be a permanent home for the child.
Kinship caregivers receive a support worker from Children’s Aid Society to support the family and support the children living in their home. Kinship service families may be eligible for Temporary Care Assistance through Ontario Works and some support from Children’s Aid Society, such as food vouchers and summer camp.