I am frequently asked, “Do you really think there is a big difference between foster care and Kinship Care?” My answer is an unequivocal, “Yes!” I make my response very personal. I ask, “If tonight, sadly you were abused or neglected and had to be taken from your home, where would you want me to take you?” In all the years I have asked people this question, no one has ever responded to “a stranger’s house”. Some say grandmother, stepfather or cousin. Others answer aunt, sister or close family friend. The response is always kin.
I believe that Kinship Care is the most personal response that child welfare can use to provide for a family. It embraces the notion that family is important. It gives us our identity and our culture; in other words, kin grounds us.
Kinship Care realistically acknowledges that every family has challenges that can be overcome if they are engaged as the key decision makers in matters that affect their lives. We must assist families in using their internal GPS to find their way home.
Kinship Care is a very personal story for me. Without Kinship Care my life would have been drastically different. I chose this time to tell my story because I believe the stage has been set to motivate our country into a new wave and new consciousness of Kinship Care. In my heart, I personally know that Kinship Care can change the face of child welfare for families.