benefits and challenges of kinship care
We know that families come in all shapes and sizes. Kinship families are especially important. In kinship care, family members or close friends have stepped up for a child when a parent was unable to care for the child. One in 11 children lives in kinship care at some point before the age of 18. Roughly 100,000 children are in kinship care in Ohio. This number is increasing quickly due to our growing challenge of opioids, which has impacted so many parents in our community.
Kinship care has many positive outcomes, including the protection of children and maintenance of strong families and communities. However, kinship caregivers may face the emotional, physical, and financial strain of raising children, who have experienced the trauma of separating from their parents. Many kinship caregivers take on this responsibility without government assistance simply because they love these children in their lives. Kinship care keeps children out of the foster care system, saving tax payers billions of dollars each year.
Taking on a child at any point in your life is a lot. Roughly 2.7 million grandparents are responsible for most of the basic needs of their grandchildren nationwide. Sixty percent of grandparent caregivers are in the workforce. Twenty-one percent live below the poverty line. With many demands on grandparents and other kinship families, the stress can add up.
Kinship families in Dayton are not alone.
Dayton Children’s is pleased to partner with Montgomery County Job and Family Services for the Kinship Navigator Program (https://www.childrensdayton.org/community/advocacy-and-outreach/programs/kinship-navigator-program). Our Kinship Navigator program assists caregiving families to find community resources and social supports to help care for children. Whether it is helping a kinship caregiver with court documentation to locating winter clothing or utility assistance, the program aims to support kinship caregivers on their important journey. Please share this information with any kinship caregiver you may know.