Child Welfare

Kinship Care Policy


(Effective 12/21/00)


Relative placement refers to the use of relatives as a temporary placement for children in the custody of the Department or comparable departments in another state through the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children while the children/parent(s) are engaged in the rehabilitation/reunification process.

Kinship care is the placement of a child with relatives on a permanent basis once the court or the family has determined that the child will not be returning to the home and care of the parent(s).

Temporary relative placements can evolve into kinship care.

The use of relative placements and kinship care requires careful consideration with the safety and well being of the child the first priority. It is the expectation of the Bureau that relatives will be given priority consideration as placement resources, both temporary and permanent, for children involved with the child welfare system. The names, location and appropriateness of relatives as potential placement resources must be actively and assertively pursued.

Placement of a child who has been abused and neglected with relatives can offer the child familiarity, comfort, acceptance, continuity and a sense of belonging to a family. These benefits can often help mitigate the traumatic impact of abuse and neglect of the child and prevent further trauma of the child that can come from placement in an unfamiliar, out-of-home setting. These benefits may help to provide a safe, stable home for the child. Some of the parents with whom we work come from families where significant problems related to child abuse, substance abuse, domestic violence, impaired or non-existent attachments exist and may affect the lives of family and extended family members. Children should not be placed where these circumstances exist. The need to have relevant information about using a relative for a placement is one more compelling reason why obtaining a comprehensive family history is so important during the assessment process.


As with all out-of-home placements, providers of care must meet basic health and safety requirements. In addition, there are unique areas of inquiry that must be pursued in relative placements. Relatives who are or will become foster or adoptive parents are assessed by licensing or adoption staff using the home study process.

Relatives will be given information to assist them in making an informed decision about providing such care. The caseworker should encourage relatives to examine the impact that assuming child care responsibilities will have on their lives now and in the future. Topics to be covered include but are not limited to:

  • The emotional and physical impact of abuse and neglect on a child.
  • The benefits to a child who is being cared for and protected within their own family.
  • A child’s issues around separation and loss.
  • The special needs and problems that can emerge for abused and neglected children at different developmental stages.
  • The law as it relates to permanency, including rehabilitation/reunification, timeframes and parental rights.
  • The legal, emotional and financial implications of becoming:

1) A licensed foster parent,

2) An adoptive parent, or

3) A legal guardian in order to provide for a child’s care.

  • The impact of setting limits on visitation and/or contact by the child’s parent(s).
  • Community resources available to support relative caregivers.


  • The Relative Placement/Kinship Care Study outline that follows this policy will be completed. This study is to be completed on all cases of Relative placements and Kinship Care placements even those whose foster care or adoption application is pending. Licensing and adoption staff can make use of the information in completing their study.
  • A Child Protective Services S.B.I., criminal history and Department of Motor Vehicle checks must be completed. Pending receipt of these reports, local law enforcement agencies will be asked to provide any relevant information on the relative being studied.
  • If evaluations are required to complete a study and make a decision, the Bureau is responsible for the cost of these evaluations.
  • If a relative being considered for placement has a significant (i.e., possibly effecting their ability to care for and protect the child) medical or mental health history releases for appropriate records must be signed by the relative.


At the summary preliminary hearing the Court will want to know whether we have actively considered placement with relatives. We should document how we reached our decision to place or not to place. Not having time to fully assess, particularly in serious cases is a legitimate reason not to place pending the full assessment of a relative. Documenting the nature and extent of the abuse, the impact on the child and the special care of the child required due to trauma often demonstrates to the Court that time to conduct a full relative assessment (or study) is required. If we have documentation of significant risk factors involving relatives who have been identified by parents or who have come forward, this information should be shared with the Court, as appropriate. 

By the time of the jeopardy hearing caseworkers should be prepared to submit any appropriate relative studies. At the permanency hearing caseworkers should be prepared to offer the Court an explanation and documentation as to why or why not Kinship Care is the permanent plan for the child.


Caseworker________________Application Date__________Today’s Date__________

Macwis #__________________

Child(ren) for whom study is being completed: 






PLACEMENT NAME:______________________________D.O.B._________________



Maiden and/or married names_____________________________________________




Relationship to Children to be placed:_______________________________________

Marital History:_________________________________________________________

Other Members of Household: 






Adult Children of Placement Not Residing in the Home: 




S.B.I. Date Requested ____________ Date Received_________

Criminal History Date Requested ____________ Date Received_________

Dept. Motor Vehicle Date Requested ____________ Date Received_________


  • Caregivers history in family of origin (child rearing practices, abuse, neglect).

Parenting History 

  • Identify disciplinary practices, any child rearing difficulties, current functioning of caregiver’s, children, etc.


(These questions must be answered for all adults in the home)

1. What is the relative’s ability to meet the child’s basic needs for food, clothing, shelter, a bed, privacy, a place for the child’s belongings, supervision and protection?

2. What is the history in this family related to child abuse or neglect, substance abuse or domestic violence? How have these issues been resolved?

3. What is their history of exercising protective judgment?

4. What is the relative’s understanding of the special needs the child might have due to the child’s age and the trauma they have experienced and how will the relative meet those needs?

5. What is the relative’s understanding about the specifics of the abuse and neglect and the role of the child’s caretaker in the abuse?

6. Given the nature of the relatives relationship to the parent who has abused or neglected the child, what is the relative’s ability to manage the conflicting loyalties that caring for and protecting the child would create?

7. What did the relative know (if anything) about the abuse and neglect before our intervention and what did they do with that knowledge?

8. What is the relative’s plan should the abusive or neglectful parent try to disrupt the placement in some way? How realistic is that plan?

9. What is the ability of the relative to participate in and/or support rehabilitation/reunification efforts?

10. What is the likelihood that the abusing and neglectful parent’s behavior is so violent and unpredictable, that a relative placement could place both the child and the relative at risk or create ongoing chaos for the child and relative? What is the relative’s view of this?

11. How does the caregiver relate to and view the child? How does the relative demonstrate their ability to see the child as an individual?

12. What has the relationship of the caregiver been to the child? (Frequency of contact and quality of contact.)

13. How capable is the relative in being able to put the needs of the child for safety, permanency and stability as a priority?

14. What are the relative’s normal disciplinary techniques and how will that impact on the child given the abuse and neglect the child has experienced?

15. What are the caretaker’s expectations of what it will be like to have this child in their home?

18. Does the child:

  • Express and/or demonstrate a positive reaction to the relative?
  • Express or demonstrated any concern or anxiety about the relative?
  • Express an opinion about living with the relative?

NOTE: Please see the ICPC guidelines for completing studies on children covered by the Compact.



PLACEMENT NAME:___________________________________Date:_____________


The Mandatory Standards Are: 

1. No Blocked Exits: No doors may be covered with plastic, nailed, or painted shut or have furniture or any barriers preventing their use. Each room, especially children’s bedrooms, must have at least one window that opens for fire escape and ventilation.

____ Yes ____ No

2. No Combustible Materials Near a Fire Source: No materials that could catch fire within 3 feet of a wood stove, fireplace, furnace, or the top burners of a stove.

____ Yes ____ No

3. No Oil Leaks: If the home has an oil tank either inside or outside the home, it cannot be leaking any oil. Check the pipes leading to and from the tanks for leaks.

____ Yes ____ No

4. No Exposed, Live Electrical Wires: No live electrical wires hanging out of the walls, floors, or ceilings that a child could reach. There can be no frayed electrical appliance cords.

____ Yes ____ No

5. No Excessive Clutter: No clutter that would prevent a person from easily and safely getting from one room to another in case of emergency, fire, darkness, etc. or prevent a person from getting to an exit such as a door or a window. Also, there can be no clutter on stairways that can cause tripping.

____ Yes ____ No

6. No Extension Cords: No old type electrical cords can be used. The newer, surge protector bar type cords are allowed as they have a built-in surge protector that would shut down in case of overload.

____ Yes ____ No

7. Working Smoke Detector: There must be at least one working smoke detector installed in the living quarters part of the home. It must be tested to insure it is working.

____ Yes ____ No

8. Medicines, Poisons, Hazardous Materials, Household Cleaners: These items must be locked up or stored in a place that is inaccessible to young children.

____ Yes ____ No

9. Guns, Firearms, Bows, and Arrows: All items must be kept unloaded and locked up. Ammunition and arrows must be locked up separately from guns and bows. They cannot be transported in a vehicle with a child as a passenger.

____ Yes ____ No

Optional / Other: 

What is the family’s escape plan and do they practice it? How regularly?

Inform the family that: 

The state fire Marshall will do a full inspection of the home at a later date and will require an ABC type fire extinguisher, smoke detectors in the home that are hard wired to the electrical system, and large, egress sized windows in the children’s bedroom. Egress sized windows are those that are large enough for a fully equipped fire fighter to go through.

Conclusions Regarding Relative Placement or Kinship Care Plan:


Basis for the Conclusion: