Kinship awareness week 2022 – September 19 -23
Welcome to kinship awareness week 2022. The hope of the week is to grow knowledge and awareness about the contributions of kinship to the well-being of children and families and supporting child welfare outcomes. Legislation, Ministry directives, Truth & Reconciliation commitments, and One Vision One Voice race-equity practices call on us to be active in kinship search and engagement throughout child welfare service delivery.
Kinship service involves care for children by a relative; extended family member related by blood, spousal relationship. Or adoption; or by someone with whom the child has an established relationship or shared membership in a cultural community. For Indigenous children, kinship includes any member of the child’s band or community.
For this year’s Kinship Awareness Week, we bring together real-life kinship stories of how Standards and requirements can be used to support children and families.
Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action identify how it is imperative that the child’s identity and cultural connections be at the heart and centre of all planning. Indigenous Calls to Justice involve “upholding and protecting the rights of the child through ensuring the health and well-being of children, their families, and communities” and where necessary, prioritizing an ensuring that “a family member or members, or a close community member, assumes care of Indigenous children” (MMIWG 12.3). Planning happens through a Circle of Care process, where family and community come together to plan for children’s safety and well-being.
Please press the following link to a story of Circle of care for an indigenous child
When a child’s admission to care is likely and/or imminent, priority is given to finding a safe alternate living arrangement for the child with a relative, extended family member, or a member of the child’s community. The benefits of kinship placements versus in-care placement are many, including reflecting the voice of the child, building on existing relationships, enabling continuity of relationships, and maintaining the integrity of the child’s connections to their culture and community
Please watch this video of a youth and his kin caregiver talking about their experiences of kinship services. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXXOUSlZeEQ
The assessment of a kinship placement for a child is subject to Kinship Service Standards (2006). Kinship Service Standard #2 outlines the requirements of kinship assessment. The assessment includes review of any child welfare involvement, police vulnerable sector check, home safety evaluation, interviews with the kin caregiver and child to be placed, and evaluation of the kin caregiver’s capacity to provide daily care to the child and to engage collaboratively with parents and the Society. A proposed caregiver’s prior involvement with police or the Society is never a criterion not to approve a placement.
Please watch this presentation of a workers involvement with a prospective kin and how they collaborated throughout the assessment.
Kinship Service is supported by a written plan which is described in Ontario’s Kinship Service Standard #4. The plan is developed in collaboration with the parent(s)/guardian(s), the child (12 years and older, or younger as appropriate), the kinship service family, and the Society. When there is a proposed kinship plan for an Indigenous child, the child’s band or community is consulted and actively involved in the development of the plan.
Please take time to view this video, to see how this Standard is brought to life in the work of our very own Kinship Services Team Ontario Kinship Services Standard #4 Completing Service Plans for Kinship Services Placements (using Signs of Safety) The names and details (and voices ) of this case scenario have been changed to protect the identities and privacy of those involved.
This week is a time to recognize all the extended family and community members who provide support to children when they cannot remain with their parents. Sometimes this support is temporary, and sometimes it turns into permanent care. What we know is that kinship service is usually a much better alternative to foster or group care! Therefore, to every kin family who has come forward to provide safety, security, and support to children in need of protection, who might otherwise find themselves in the care of the Society, we extend a tremendous thank you. Their presence and commitment to show up for our kids, often having to make large sacrifices of their own, is truly appreciated! ” Ontario Children’s Aid Society Societies
Please follow along in the link below the one story of a kinship aunt who welcomed to write her own story “So, you are wondering Why be a Kin Caregiver”. Further, the second story is an account of a grandfather’s interview and summary created by Kinship Service workers “Bob’s story”. These Kinship stories are true accounts, names and Imagery have been changed to protect identity and privacy.
These two stories demonstrate individual ways on achieving a life-long connections to family. Most importantly all planning is unique (inclusive) to each family!