Columbus, OH,
17:46 PM

ABC6: Kinship Care

Raising a child is certainly not easy, and often there are other factors that make that a unique challenge.

In some instances, the child is removed from a traditional home and spends some time in either a foster care setting or in what is called kinship care.

The Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services defines kinship care as a temporary or permanent arrangement in which a relative or any non-relative adult who has a long-standing relationship or bond with the child and/or family, has taken over the full-time, substitute care of a child whose parents are unable or unwilling to do so. Kinship Care includes those relationships established through an informal arrangement, legal custody or guardianship order, a relative foster care placement or kinship adoption. Regardless of the type of kinship care arrangement, the kinship caregivers' voluntary commitment to devote their lives to the children in their care is a courageous, life-changing decision.

Kinship care represents the most desirable out-of-home placement option for children who cannot live with their parents. It offers the greatest level of stability by allowing children to maintain their sense of belonging and enhances their ability to identify with their family's culture and traditions.

OhioHealth psychiatrist Dr. Megan Schabbing sees kinship care cases come from many different issues at home.

"Often it's substance abuse. That is the problem with the biological parent that parent might be unable to care for the child due to primary mental illness or severe medical problems," Dr. Schabbing told ABC6.

Once the transition happens for a child, there can be some adjustments for everyone. She says it is important that the new home is set up for success, and to be ready for some adjustment time.

"They can have a lot of trouble with sleep or with behavior," said Dr. Schabbing told ABC6.

Dr. Schabbing says research points to more than half of children in kinship and foster care return home. In some cases, there are times set up for the biological parent to have contact during the process.

"In a perfect scenario there would be a calendar with a predictable visitation schedule for the child," said Dr. Schabbing to ABC6.

Dr. Schabbing says everyone has to be working together for the best possible outcomes. That includes parents, family, friends, and even doctors helping to take care of the child and get a pulse check on where that child is.

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