Kinship care is one of several placement options in Alberta for children who cannot live with their family because of concerns related to their safety and well-being, such as abuse or neglect.
Kinship care is a family home that is approved to care for a child in need because of a family connection or significant relationship to the child, (e.g. grandparent, aunt, close family friend). It is similar to foster care in the types of supports that are provided to the child and to the caregivers.
Kinship caregivers provide:
- a child with love and care in a familiar setting
- parents with a sense of hope that their child will remain connected to their birth family
- families with a sense of trust, stability and comfort
- an ability to support and maintain lifelong traditions and memories
- support to a child in building healthy relationships within the family
guidance and reinforcement of a child’s cultural identity and positive self-esteem
Human Services aims to ensure that children and youth in care live in culturally relevant placements whenever possible. When a child must be brought into care, the first options for placement are with extended family, members of the community or anyone who has a bond with the child so there is the strongest possible connection for that child to their cultural community.
Kinship Care Spotlight: Edmonton and Area Child and Family Services Working on Developing Cultural Connections
Since 2013, Edmonton and Area Child and Family Services (CFS), has worked with Multicultural Health Brokers on a Multi Cultural Framework and Action Plan. The plan uses a holistic approach to consider multicultural family connections. This work has resulted in child intervention concerns being resolved sooner, children not coming into care, and/or children in care returning to their parents sooner.
CFS has also worked with various members and groups representing the Somali community in Edmonton with the purpose of finding more Somali families who can act as caregivers so that, if a Somali child must come into care, they can remain within their community. Successes to date include two people of Somali heritage who have been trained to do home assessments and 10 families of Somali heritage have come forward to offer their homes as potential placements for children.
The Métis Kinship Pilot Project has been finding kinship options for children and youth involved with CFS since 2012. The project has been able to secure kinship placements with extended family, conduct home assessments and ultimately, move these children into family-based settings where they will be supported to grow and thrive.
"We strive to do everything possible to keep children within their cultural community. When situations arise where a child may require an alternate caregiver, the front line caseworkers ask parents to identify potential family, or significant persons that may care for their children in their absence. If the parent is unable to identify a potential family member, or significant person to the child, the front line caseworker would then look to the cultural community significant to that child, family. For example, children from the Métis community should be placed, whenever possible, with Métis caregivers. That means we connect with leaders in each of the settlements looking for someone who the child knows. That community is very well-connected with each other and so finding a culturally matched placement is sometimes a matter of working the phones until we find someone who is able to provide care."
Debbie Kelsie, Casework Supervisor