When a child or youth needs to be removed from the care of their biological parent, the first place the Halton Children’s Aid Society looks to provide care are with kin or kith.
Kin or kith are people who have a connection to the child or youth through their biological family. Kin are extended family members of the child or youth. They can be grandparents, aunts uncles or siblings. Kith are people who are important to the child, youth or the child/youth’s family. They can be godparents, family friends, church members or even coaches or teachers.
Placing a child or youth with kin or kith helps to preserve their culture, ethnic and religious heritage. It helps maintain a connection with their family and makes healing from trauma easier.
Kinship Service is where a child or youth is placed with kin or kith on a voluntary basis or through a Court order of supervision. The child or youth’s guardian is the kinship caregiver. The child or youth’s parent(s) can consent through an agreement for the child or youth to live with an alternative caregiver until the protection concerns are addressed. This is voluntary Kin Service and allows the parent(s) to retain legal custody of the child or youth and also supports decision making for their care with the support of the kinship caregiver.
If the parent(s) does not agree to the placement, the child or youth may be placed in the care and custody of an alternate caregiver through an order of supervision by the Court. The child or youth’s caregiver is then given full decision making and the ability to provide consent for the child or youth.
Process to Become a Kinship Service Caregiver
Sometimes a child or youth is placed with kin in an emergency situation. In this case, the caregiver’s home will be assessed for safety at the time of placement and the caregiver will provide consent to complete child welfare and police vulnerable sector record checks. A worker will be assigned as soon as possible after the placement to complete a comprehensive assessment to ensure the caregiver is able to meet the needs of the child or youth.
When a child or youth is proposed to be placed with kin, the intent is to complete the comprehensive assessment prior to the child or youth’s placement. The assessment consists of:
- child welfare record checks;
- police record checks/vulnerable sector screening;
- interviews with all family members;
- safety assessment of the home; and
- medical assessment.
Kin and kith will be provided with ongoing support from the Halton Children’s Aid Society through a Kinship Service Worker. This worker meets regularly with the kin or kith to ensure they have what they need to support the child or youth. There is limited financial support available through the Halton Children’s Aid Society for kinship service providers, but the Kinship Service Worker will assist in connecting you with available community supports such as the temporary care allowance or subsidized child care.