What is Kinship Care?
A number of grandparents and other relatives (including aunts, uncles, older siblings and great-grandparents) find themselves serving as parents for children whose own parents are unable to care for them. Sometimes, the arrangement (referred to as "kinship care") is an informal, private arrangement between the parents and relative caregivers; in other situations, the Department of Human Services is involved. Kinship care can also include non-relatives such as godparents, stepparents, family-friends or any adult who has a kinship bond with a child.
Facts about Kinship Care
- 2.7 million children (4%) of all U.S. children are being raised in kinship care situations.
- Children placed with relatives make up over a quarter (26%) of all children in the foster care system.
Support for Kinship Caregivers
For 40 years, the Iowa Foster and Adoptive Parents Association (IFAPA) has been a voice for Iowa’s foster, adoptive and kinship children through the support it provides to the parents who care for children. IFAPA empowers, supports and advocates for foster, adoptive and kinship families across Iowa. IFAPA provides peer support, training and resources to promote safety, permanency and well-being for Iowa’s children.
If you are a kinship caregiver, it may have been a while since you have parented a child or cared for a child at this age. Relative caregivers are often placed into parenting situations for which they are not completely prepared. IFAPA is a resource for families in this situation.
Become a Member of IFAPA
Kinship families can become a member of IFAPA for free! To become a member, please call IFAPA at 800-277-8145 ext. 1.
Membership Benefits Include:
- Free training opportunities for IFAPA's foster/adoptive/kinship parents
- Free publications written for Iowa's foster/adoptive/kinship parents
- Free or low-cost events
- Low-cost annual spring conference
- Free News & Views newsletter mailed/e-mailed to parents quarterly
- Free Weekly Word newsletter e-mailed to parents on a weekly basis
Have a Question? Need Support?
Contact IFAPA’s Resource Information Specialist who provides support and resources to kinship caregivers:
515-261-7255 (Dsm area)
Courses for Kinship Parents
IFAPA offers a wide variety of free parenting courses which are available to any kinship caregiver. View IFAPA's Current Courses
To locate support groups for kinship caregivers, visit our support group page.
IFAPA Kinship Sheet
This flyer provides a general overview of kinship care and how IFAPA can support kinship caregivers. VIEW FLYER
Raising Relatives' Children Booklet
This guidebook was created to help Iowa kinship caretakers navigate the DHS and
Juvenile Court systems when they are caring for a relative’s child. The booklet includes information on the different types of care a kinship caretaker can provide, financial assistance programs, community resources, and questions to ask DHS when considering a kinship placement. This booklet also includes information on children's issues, family concerns, respite, educational issues, raising children of
color, talking with children about their parents and much more helpful information.
IFAPA produces many other helpful publications for foster, adoptive and kinship parents. To view these publications, click on the following links:
IFAPA Lifebook Pages
Crisis / Referral Help Phone Numbers
Other Kinship Links / Resources
AARP GrandCare Toolkit - Resources for Grandparents Raising Children
American Bar Association - Kinship Care Legal Research Center
Brookdale Foundation - RAPP (Relatives as Parents Program)
Child Welfare League of America
Children of Alcoholics Foundation (and other substance abuse issues)
Children's Defense Fund
Generations United - National Center of Grandparents and Other Relatives Raising Children
Grandfamilies State Law and Policy Resource Center
Grandparents.com - Grandparents Caring for Grandkids Forum
Grandparents.com - When You're a Parent Again
Grandparents.com - The Grandparents Rights to Legal Resources
Grandparents Raising Grandchildren - USA
Iowa Association of Area Agencies on Aging
Iowa Department of Elder Affairs
Iowa State University - University Extension
Minnesota Kinship Caregivers Association
Western Michigan University - Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
National Committee of Grandparents for Children's Rights
University of Wisconsin Extension - Grandparenting Today (Over 100 Fact Sheets)