Kinship Caregivers and Fostering in Communities of Origin
May is Foster Care Month. At Wellpoint, we work closely with foster caregivers across Wisconsin from all backgrounds, cultures and family structures to represent the diverse range of children who need a foster home.
Foster care is a temporary arrangement on the path to give children a permanent home and family as quickly as possible, whether through reunification with biological parents, kinship care, guardianship, or adoption.
We know that even when it’s necessary, being separated from a parent can be very difficult for children. Keeping children with people and communities they already know can significantly reduce stress and destabilization. Whenever possible, we try to place children in kinship care (with relatives or “like-kin” adults such as family friends) or with foster parents who live in the same community.
Children in kinship care placements are more likely to remain with their siblings, experience fewer changes in placements and schools, and maintain and restore connections with their families and communities.
We aim to consistently place at least 40% of children in foster care with kinship caregivers. While we are often successful in reaching that target, we also know that many people who want to be kinship caregivers face barriers.
You can learn more about kinship care and how we can support everyone who wants to be a kinship caregiver in our issue brief:
Kinship care is the placement of youth in the care of non-parent relatives, such as grandparents, or like-kin adults who have existing relationships with youth and their families, such as family friends. Kinship care is often informal, but here we will focus on official placements in the child welfare system.
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Of course, not all children have adults in their lives who are able or willing to provide kinship care. In those situations, kids are placed with foster parents. Now that we understand how important it is for children to maintain connections, we prioritize identifying foster parents who live in children’s home communities.
Staying in their home communities means that kids are often able to keep attending the same school and other institutions like places of worship and community centers, remain close to friends and other supportive relationships, and stay connected to their culture of origin. This allows children and youth to keep the supportive and stabilizing factors that help them thrive. When kinship care is not an option, we do our best to match children in foster care with caregivers in their same community.
Wellpoint is always recruiting foster parents! Currently, we are especially seeking more foster caregivers in the following zip codes:
Interested in becoming a foster caregiver for children in your community? Learn more about the process in our free, online Basics of Fostering course.