What Is Kinship Care?
If you are pregnant, or you think you might be pregnant, you may be wondering what options you have if you are unable to take care of your baby yourself. There are many young mothers who do not want to have an abortion, in fact, they want to have the baby and know that they are being taken care of. In that case, kinship care is a very good option. With kinship care, a parent, grandparent, godparent or any other extended family member can raise the baby. This allows the expecting mother to avoid an abortion or an adoption process where they have no control over the family that will raise the child as their own.
Types Of Kinship Care
There are different types of kinship care, which means it is likely that there is a scenario that best fits your needs. Choosing the right type of arrangement depends on the needs of the child, the circumstances of the mother, and whether or not the mother intends for the arrangement to be short-term or long-term.
Informal Kinship Care is the easiest type of arrangement available. Expecting mothers are able to make living arrangements with their parents or if any members without child welfare agencies or courts being involved.
Temporary Guardianship allows for parents to make a temporary arrangement for the care of their child. This type of arrangement requires that an attorney writes the contract and a judge approves it. But many expecting mothers choose this arrangement so that the relatives are only granted temporary guardianship, and the mother can reclaim her rights at the end of the contract.
Voluntary Kinship Care happens when child welfare services are involved with the placement of the child in a home. This usually involves cases where parents have attempted to take care of their child themselves, but have come across difficult times which causes a family member to come forth involuntarily take over the parenting roles.
Formal Kinship Care is when the state has taken legal custody of the child by a judge who places that child with relatives of the parent. In this situation, the relatives do take physical custody of the child and become foster parents while the state keeps legal custody of the child. That means that if the mother wants to visit with the child, they must go an agency in order to approve a visiting schedule.
Types Of Custody
One of the biggest questions that expecting mothers have is over custody rights of the child. With kinship care, the two types of custody that comes into play involve physical custody and legal custody.
Legal custody is the biggest concern because whoever has legal custody of the child makes the decisions about them. With kinship care, the mother retains legal custody of her child unless one of two things happen. Either the mother voluntarily gives up her right to legal custody when making the kinship agreement, or a judge of the court rules to take those legal rights away and give them to another person. Legal custody can be awarded to the state, child welfare services, or in most kinship cases, a relative or a close friend of the family.
Physical custody refers to the location of where the child lives. If the children live with relatives, then they have physical custody of the child. Having physical custody does not always mean that a person has legal custody. A person can have physical custody without having legal custody and vice versa.
All in all, kinship care arrangements are emotionally healthy for both the mother and the child. As an alternative to abortion or adoption, kinship care creates loving relationships that encourage the healthy development and growth of children for the long run.