Relative Care and Kinship Care

When a child or teen experiences abuse and neglect, and cannot remain at home with a parent, alternative care is necessary. The Division for Children, Youth and Families actively seeks relatives who can care for children who are removed from their homes.

Your willingness to be a caregiver to a child or teen who is your relative, or who you have a close relationship with, is so important. Children and teens who enter safe, loving homes, especially homes that are familiar, such as the home of a relative or close family friend—recover more quickly from past difficulties and have the greatest chance for a happy future. 

 In New Hampshire, relative care is when an adult relative (other than a parent) cares for a child under the age of 18 on a temporary or permanent basis. The relative is related by blood, marriage or adoption and is most often a grandparent; but can also be an aunt, uncle, sibling (including step-sibling), cousin, niece, or nephew.

 If you are a family friend, have a close relationship or are an important person in the life of the child or teen then you are considered “Fictive Kin”. 

When children and teens need a safe and temporary home, relatives and fictive kin are often considered before foster family care. By law, the State of New Hampshire must make efforts to identify and notify adult relatives within 30 days of a child being placed outside their parents’ home.  If a family relative is not available or not appropriate, the child may be placed in a licensed foster home.

 When a relative is identified there are some basic safety checks required before a child or teen comes to live with you. These checks are:

  • NH Criminal Records (18 +)
  • Registry of Criminal Offenders
  • Local Law Enforcement 
  • NH Central Registry
  • Home Visit by DCYF staff

Relatives are strongly encouraged to become licensed foster parents. Some benefits of becoming a licensed foster parent is 

  • financial support
  • respite care 
  • assistance with childcare expenses 
  • training and networking
  • support groups and information

All fictive kin (non-relatives) must be licensed as a foster parent.

For more information about becoming a licensed foster parent go to Becoming a Foster Parent, or apply at