Easy Factsheets for Kinship Families

-Factsheets and information on this page are courtesy of or adapted from the Grandfamilies and Kinship Support Network.

Are you raising the child or children of a family member or a close friend? Is this new for you, or have new issues and questions come up? If you are the head of a “kinship family” or “grandfamily” (where the child or children are living with you full time and you are responsible for raising them), these resources are for you! They are loaded with Washington State-specific and local information and resources.

Resources include:

  • Health insurance and health care
  • Financial assistance (including food)
  • Other public benefits
  • Contact information for your regional Kinship and Tribal Navigators (people who can direct you to resources)
  • Legal assistance
  • Tax credits
  • Schooling–especially if the child or children are now in a new school district
  • Support groups where other kinship caregivers share concerns, experiences, and ideas

If you have questions or concerns about these situations, click on the links below:

If the child or children have a disability or special health care need:

Get Help (works for both programs)

If the child may be experiencing a developmental delay, or you have concerns about that:

“Developmental Screening (Birth to Three and Medically needed developmental screening)”

If the child’s special education needs are not being met: Get Help

If you need a break (respite): Lifespan Respite WA

More about Kinship Families:

kinship families are families in which children live with and are being raised by grandparents, other extended family members, or other adults with whom they have a close family-like relationship such as close family friends. Many kinship caregivers don’t necessarily think of themselves that way–it’s natural to step in and raise children when the parents can’t. Even though most of the challenges that come with raising children are the same for a kinship family, there are two important differences.

Kinship caregivers do not have automatic legal rights and responsibilities for the children

Raising children when they are not the child’s parent was not necessarily planned or expected. It’s often related to a family crisis, and the child welfare system is not always involved.

Kinship caregivers can often use help with all of the practical issues surrounding a suddenly larger family: large enough housing, paying for the extra food, ensuring medical care, and registering children at a different school. Legal issues may come up–powers of attorney to get things done, custody, guardianship of the children, parental rights and visitation.

It’s a lot to deal with–and kinship families do it successfully all the time! Kinship caregivers may receive a new purpose in life. Kinship families are good for children in many ways, with continuity and stability, knowledge of children’s culture and roots, emotional nourishment and love.