Uncles, Grandmas, Friends…
If you’re considering caring for a child you know who is in foster care (called “kinship care”), there are some hard questions to ask yourself, beforehand—check them out, below. If the child resides out-of-state, there is a special process you must go through. If the child resides in Utah, Utah’s Division of Child & Family Services (DCFS) is the agency who decides where a child in foster care will be placed, so the first thing to do is contact the child’s caseworker at DCFS.
If you’re selected to be the child’s caregiver, there are two paths: temporary custody and guardianship; and becoming a licensed foster parent. The path you take will be determined during your discussions with DCFS. If you’re not selected, we invite you to consider becoming a licensed foster parent for children not lucky enough to have kin able to take them in.
In Utah, there are some 84,000 children living with a relative with no involvement from the state whatsoever. If this is you, there are resources available for you, too!
Before you decide to become a caregiver for a child you know, there are some questions you need to ask yourself:
- What is my relationship with the child’s parents?
- Will I have family support?
- Am I prepared to work with the child’s parents—and possibly their extended family?
- How will this affect my relationship with the child’s parents and the extended family?
- Will I be able to set limits with the child’s parents?
- How will this impact my own children and spouse?
- Do I understand the circumstances surrounding this child going to foster care?
- How do I feel about those circumstances?
- Will I be able to let this child go back home when the time comes?
- How do I feel about adopting this child, if necessary?
- Will I need financial assistance?
- What are the child’s medical, dental, and emotional health needs
- Do I know how will I access services to help the child meet these needs?
- Considering your answers to these questions, your situation, and your own feelings will help you know if you are the right person to meet the needs of the child(ren) you want to help.
Remember: To become a licensed foster parent for a child you know (kinship), the child’s caseworker must initiate the licensing process for you. This is often misunderstood, and the caseworker may even tell you to contact us to be licensed—but the process must be initiated by the caseworker.