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Celebrating Kinship Caregivers


As we turn over the calendar to the new month of September, we want to take a moment to recognize National Kinship Care month. This is a time to celebrate the support of families and other adults with family-like relationships, who have stepped into the role of a caretaker when biological parents cannot do so safely.

This scenario is more common than you might imagine, impacting 4% of all children across the United States, totaling more than 2.6 million children. When a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or other trusted adult steps up to be the primary caretaker, it can significantly reduce the trauma of being removed from their home and placed with someone they do not know. The opportunity for a child to live with someone they already have a relationship with helps to create a sense of security, belonging, community, and cultural identity. When children can stay in their community, they have an opportunity to continue to build supportive relationships and strong bonds with friends and family. This also creates the possibility for children and youth to experience their own cultural heritage, an additional protective factor.

When kin agree to take on the additional responsibility of being the primary caregiver of their family or friend, it naturally comes with additional stressors. Pathways to Permanency Project, a Vaya Health initiative created to align the work of the child welfare and behavioral health systems, has a workgroup focused on developing innovative ways to support kinship families.

We have overwhelmingly heard that kinship providers need more support in three areas: financial resources, social support, and licensing. As we take time to honor and celebrate kinship families during the month of September, Pathways to Permanency Project will continue our diligent efforts to increase supports for kinship providers so that children can benefit from the love and support of their own community and in turn promote resiliency in the children’s lives. A heartfelt thanks goes to anyone that has offered a child that is family or friend a safe place to call home. If this is you, know that you have made a difference in the life of a child and your selflessness will have lifelong impacts.


Kinship care. The Annie E. Casey Foundation. (n.d.). Retrieved September 2, 2022, from

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