A. Financial Support
In particular, the sudden and immediate nature of child placement must be considered, and
emergency funds must be created to support kinship care providers. These care providers often
need to purchase supplies, such as bedding or furniture, or provide short-term salary matches for
lost work time while tending to the adjustment needs of a child recently placed in their homes.
B. Childcare and Respite Care
California has recently adopted the Child Care Bridge Program for Foster Children which
was implemented in January 2018.155 This program was proposed as a solution to the limited
access to affordable childcare for resource families, including kinship caregivers, and recognizes
the need, particularly potent amongst kinship caregivers, to provide foster families who were not
planning on having a child enter their lives with immediate access to childcare services. 156 This
immediate access will last up to six months, but can be extended up to twelve months at county
discretion if the family has been unable to secure long-term subsidized childcare.157 Caregivers
will receive assistance from childcare navigators who will help connect them to longer-term
childcare options beyond the six month period.158 While the aims of the program are laudable,
there are concerns that the program is not adequately funded to be able to provide necessary
childcare services to all who will need these services. As the Child Care Bridge Program is
implemented, time will show its utility.
In addition to traditional childcare services, a more robust respite care program for kinship
caregivers needs to be put into place. It is not unusual for all parents to need a night or two away
from their children. Robust respite care programs can provide the ability to get away—and return
recharged and ready to parent the children placed in a relative’s home. Respite care programs need
not be excessively costly. Adequately training and supporting those already within the social circle
of the relatives providing care can provide a deep pool from which respite services can be provided.
In addition to providing an option for the kinship care provider, tapping into the resources of the
immediate community will permit greater stability for the youth in care as they are able to spend
a night or two with a family friend instead of being placed in a respite home of a stranger.
C. Support for Kinship Caregivers
As mentioned earlier, kinship caregivers need supportive services to promote the success
of kinship placement and the safety and well-being of the children placed in their homes. These
supportive services could be provided through a variety of different types of programming. A peer-
to-peer approach utilizing a kinship liaison paired with a new kinship caregiver was found to
increase kinship caregivers’ coping skills and also increase their interest in becoming a permanent
resource family for relatives in their care.159 The U.S. Children’s Bureau System of Care
participated in a demonstration project where the liaisons were former or current kinship
155 S.B. 89 § 35, 2017-2018 Reg. Sess. (Ca. 2017) (adding Welfare and Institutions Code §11461.6).
156 Smith, supra note 82; McWey et al., supra note 46, at 1342.
159 See generally Ramona W. Denby, Kinship liaisons: A peer-to-peer approach to supporting kinship caregivers, 33
CHILD. & YOUTH SERV. REV. 217 (2011).