Legal Options for Kinship Families

Kinship care is a general term used to describe the care of children by relatives. When a child enters your home it’s important to know what legal rights and services might help you access all the benefits you can for the child you’re caring for. You can use our guided search page to find legal service providers near you or our resource blog posts below.

Informal Kinship Care

Informal kinship care is the most common kinship relationship, and at least 10 times more children are in an informal kinship care system than in formal kinship care. Informal kinship care means you’re caring for a child without the involvement of a court system. Most state statutes authorize kinship caregivers to temporarily have decision-making power through designated forms.This can be useful for things like, enrolling children in school or accessing medical care. Visit our Affidavits/Forms article to get started.


Custody & Guardianship

Physical and legal custody are not the same thing. Physical custody refers to where the child lives, and legal custody refers to the legal right to make decisions about a child’s life, such as where they live. Parents have legal custody of their children unless they voluntarily give custody to someone else or a court takes this right away and gives it to someone else. Our article on understanding custody and guardianship can be helpful.


Know Before You Go

It’s important to know that there are organizations available to provide information and resources to help you better understand your rights and responsibilities as a kinship caregiver. Check out AdvoKids or Alliance for Children’s Rights and many other local services using our guided search.


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