September 14, 2021
Kinship placements support family connection
SEATTLE, Washington – In September, we recognize National Kinship Care Month—a time to acknowledge and honor the grandparents, aunts, uncles and other relatives who care for children when their parents are unable to do so. With Grandparents Day also celebrated this month, there is no better time to call attention to the important role that extended families can play in the lives of children who have experienced abuse or neglect.
We know that connections to family give children and youth a sense of belonging and love, and it is important to identify ways for them to remain connected with their extended families whenever possible—especially when a child is removed from their home. Of the children and youth served by CASA/GAL programs in out-of-home placements last year, 26 percent were in relative foster placements, meaning that the child was placed with a member of their extended family. Kinship care allows children and youth to maintain family relationships, cultural heritage and connections to their own community and familiar surroundings.
CASA/GAL volunteers work with experts and community partners to identify and recommend services to assist kinship care families, and in doing so they create compassionate and encouraging environments for families from all walks of life. Strengthening the family is in the child’s best interest, and I am thankful for the work of our CASA/GAL volunteers and program staff who identify these services and resources to achieve stability for the child. The family members who step in when their help is needed most provide a sense of connection and hope for children and youth as they navigate their path forward.
This month, and always, I have appreciation for the critical role of families and the important work that our CASA/GAL volunteers do when advocating for the best interests of children who have experienced abuse or neglect—and the services needed to support the whole family.
I encourage you to learn more about how our work and the advocacy efforts of CASA/GAL volunteers help children maintain family connections, and I hope you will consider how you can make a difference for a child today. Your commitment ensures that CASA/GAL volunteers are available to continue to provide this much-needed advocacy for children and their families, and it helps each child get one step closer to a safe and permanent home in which they can thrive.
Tara Lisa Perry
CEO, National CASA/GAL Association for Children