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Family Challenges

Kinship care is a rewarding experience for everyone involved, but often comes with challenges for everyone in the home—parents, current children, and the new children in care. Compared to foster parents who have chosen, planned, and waited to become substitute caregivers, kinship caregivers typically find out about their new status very abruptly.

Kinship care often happens very quickly and unexpectedly, fueling a range of emotions for caregivers including fear, anger, sadness, and guilt. Grandparents may be slightly apprehensive about their new role as they may have entered the stage of life in which they are enjoying the freedom of retirement. They may also feel a sense of shame that the birth parents, who they have raised, were unable to care for their child. Any kinship caregiver may also feel guilt raising children that have been removed from their birth parents given their close relationship with the family.

The physical stamina required for raising children may be quite taxing for older caregivers and those who already have a very busy schedule. Balancing their own needs, such as managing their health, may be difficult and require an adjustment period.

Kinship caregivers are often older relatives that may be on a fixed income. Meeting the needs of a new child in the home can place a lot of pressure on a family financially.  Many grandparents have to go back into the workforce to care for their grandchildren.   Research shows that many kinship caregivers are single, therefore the financial responsibility falls on one person.