Relative and Fictive Kin

Relative and Kin Connections: Keeping Families Strong

We recognize that when children must be removed from their parents and enter into foster care, living with and being cared for by a relative is better for the children than if they were sent to live with strangers in a licensed family foster home.

Kinship Care arrangements fall into three categories:

  1. Formal care, where a Child Welfare Agency has legal custody, and a child lives with relatives or fictive kin in a foster care arrangement. In Nevada, the resources available to formal kinship families include those offered to traditional foster parents, if the kinship family chooses to get licensed.
  2. Voluntary or informal care, where the Child Welfare Agency is involved, but does not have formal legal custody of the child. This describes relatives who were asked to take legal custody by the Child Welfare Agency to prevent the child from entering the foster care system.
  3. Private care, placements made by a relative without Child Welfare involvement. These placements represent the largest number of kinship care arrangements. Private kinship placements include guardianship or other custody granted through the courts (independent of child welfare involvement), temporary guardianship and physical custody only.

grandfather and granddaughter

Kentucky-Specific Information

Support Group: UK College of Social Work

This group will focus on the day to day issues involving relative and fictive kin care and will be a place where each member can find support, resources, ideas, and a place to belong as a Relative or Fictive Kin provider. This Group meeting will be welcoming guest speakers and discussing kinship group meetings.

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GRAND Magazine: an e-Magazine for Grandparents

family of siblings

National Key Facts and Statistics

  • There are over 407,000 children and youth in foster care, and 34 percent were placed with relatives or kin.
  • The term kin encompasses both relatives (those related by blood or marriage) and fictive kin (those who are unrelated but have such a close emotional relationship that they are considered like family to children and youth).
  • When children cannot remain safely in their home, placement with relatives and kin —both formally through the child welfare system and informally through family arrangements—can increase stability, reduce trauma, and help children maintain a sense of family, belonging, and identity.
  • Investing in culturally appropriate services and supports for relative and kin caregivers may help reinforce a child’s cultural identity and traditions.
  • The inclusion of kin and extended family members in case planning expands placement and permanency options for children and youth when in-home care is not feasible.
  • Millions of children and youth live with relatives outside of the formal child welfare system. Kinship navigator programs can provide critical supports for relative caregivers, including connections to resources and benefits, financial and legal assistance, peer supports, and more.
  • Relational permanency is fundamental to the well-being of children and youth.
  • Maintaining relationships with relatives and kin can help provide a sense of belonging for young people in care.
  • Exploring relational permanency can lead to legal permanence. Of all children and youth waiting for adoption, 25 percent were placed with relatives. Of those aged 14 and above, 14 percent were placed with relatives.
  • Providing equitable services and supports to grandfamilies can positively impact placement stability and permanency outcomes for children and families. Grandparent caregivers are more likely to be older than age 55 (62 percent), less likely to be married (44 percent), and grandparent caregivers outside of the child welfare system are less likely than foster parents to have health insurance (28 percent).

About Us

Kentucky's Just in Time Training is a web based service program designed to connect foster parents, kinship or other caregivers with training, peer experts and other resources. Questions are answered and practical solutions to care for children are discussed - all from the comfort of your home or office.


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