Raising Your Relative's Kids: How to Find Help
It's pretty likely that you are raising or have raised your own child, so you may know firsthand what a wonderful, enriching and challenging job it is. If anything, the job of raising your relative's child is even more so. Maybe you are a sibling and this is your first experience with child-rearing. You are about to learn the rewards and challenges of parenthood, but don't worry. Help is available and the rewards outweigh the challenges.
You have the opportunity to change a life! You will be able to provide stability, love and your constant presence, instilling the values of your family on your relative's child. There are practical considerations to weigh such as housing, financial, medical, legal and educational needs along with many other realities that you will face. This guide outlines and identifies some of the resources that can help you.
The dramatic increase in the number of children who need to be rescued by relatives during the last several decades poses an important challenge for relatives today. For many, it involves making a life-changing decision to dedicate one's life to raising a child at a time in your life when you may be looking forward to more leisure and less responsibility or when you are just starting your own life. The rise in these "Kinship Families" reflects both the parents' need for help and, in the worst case, parental failure.
Follow the links on the left to get the information you need about all areas of this new responsibility.
It's important to remember that you are not alone in this effort. Many others have found themselves in this position. Watch the video below, and you can hear some of their stories from the Clark County Kinship Care Program, which provides help to family members who are trying to gain foster care of a relative's child.
In addition, there are several national organizations that have developed websites that contain up-to-date information about relatives raising children and will provide direction in addressing legal, financial and other types of issues you might encounter.
Some helpful ones are the AARP's web page, Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, the website of the Grandfamilies State Law and Policy Resource Center, and the website of the National Committee of Grandparents for Children's Rights. Relatives raising children and advocacy groups that care about you are getting more national attention and helping make this journey easier by developing more resources for people in your situation.