What Is Kinship Care?

Aug 22, 2023 - In the News, Foster Care and Adoption


What Is Kinship Care W Seal Article

When a child protective investigator finds a reason to believe a caregiver abused or neglected children, their next step is identifying ways to make the home environment safe. If that is not possible, the investigator looks for relatives and friends who can give kids the safe and nurturing care they need.

Workers always aim to intervene at the lowest level possible. One of the first options they consider is a Parental Child Safety Placement (safety plan). A safety plan sets expectations for the care and oversight of children to ensure they are safe while their parents keep custody. Safety plans are time-limited and, in most cases, do not involve court action.

A judge can remove the children when a safety plan does not offer enough protection or the parents do not follow it. Judges then appoint the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) or a community-based care Single Source Continuum Contractor (SSCC)* as the children's Temporary Managing Conservator (legal parent).

When the situation moves beyond a safety plan, the managing conservator conducts background checks and an in-home kinship assessment to determine if relatives or family friends can care for the children. A safety plan can evolve into an approved kinship placement or the conservator may place children in non-relative foster care until they approve a kinship caregiver.

Even though the circumstances are the same or similar, an individual caring for children under a safety plan is not an approved kinship caregiver, and they do not qualify for the benefits described below.

In Texas, approved kinship caregivers may qualify for a monthly subsidy of approximately $380 for 12 months. Kinship caregivers may also choose to complete the verification process to become a foster family. Doing so significantly increases their resources:

  • Kinship families who foster through PCHAS will receive almost $500 more each month to help offset the cost of caring for children.
  • PCHAS assigns each kinship family a case manager to help with the licensing process and advocate for them in decisions and court proceedings.
  • PCHAS can sometimes offer kinship families financial assistance to complete the licensing process or meet basic needs.
  • Children in kinship care have experienced trauma due to abuse or neglect. PCHAS staff offer kinship families specialized support and services to help guide children toward healing.
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The goal of every case is reunification, which means workers are striving to help children return to their birth parents. Kinship families may become verified as foster parents and receive these benefits even if the plan is still reunification.

If children cannot return home, PCHAS can help kinship families obtain legal permanency through Adoption or Permanent Managing Conservatorship and support for the kids until adulthood.

If you are a kinship caregiver and want to know more about the resources and support available, we are here to help.

Call 281-324-0544 or email to Connect With Us.


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