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Vol. 16, No. 1
December 2010

The Rise in Kinship Adoption

Reprinted from CB Express, July/August 2010, Vol. 11, No. 6 (

A new issue brief created by ChildFocus and the North American Council on Adoptable Children, Kinship Adoption: Meeting the Unique Needs of a Growing Population, was developed to draw attention to and explore the needs of children adopted by their relatives. The issue brief points out that the number of children in foster care finding permanent homes with relatives is steadily growing—up from 21% in 2000 to 30% in 2008. The authors look at why this trend persists and how agencies can promote and support kinship adoption.

Why is kinship adoption on the rise? The authors point to:

  • Increased recognition of the benefits of kinship care for children
  • State and Federal preferences for kinship care
  • Placement with kin to keep children out of foster care
  • Recognition that relatives will adopt if it is in the best interests of the children
Studies suggest many kin can and will adopt if they receive accurate info and are reassured about ongoing payment subsidies, the continued role of birth parents in children’s lives, and the option to leave children's birth names intact. (Geen, 2003)




According to the brief, benefits of kinship adoption include kinship caregivers' unique knowledge about the child and the family dynamics and the greater likelihood of children maintaining some kind of connection with their birth parents, if desired.

How can agencies best support kinship adoption? The authors point to the need to:

  • Fully prepare kinship families for the adoption
  • Approach the assessment and training differently with kin than with unrelated prospective families
  • Ensure postpermanency services are open to kinship families
  • Develop kinship competence in staff to overcome general assumptions
  • Educate families on flexible kinship licensing policies.

The full issue brief is available on the ChildFocus website: <>.

References for this and other articles in this issue