Kinship Care

Information and resources about the DCYF Relative & Kinship Care Program

You may be asking – what is kinship? Kin are the important people in kids’ lives that can step in to care for them when their parents can’t. Whether they are related or not, these important connections can give children and youth the safety and stability they need - and help prevent unnecessary entries into foster care.

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, Kinship caregivers 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 Kinship caregiver is identified there are some basic safety checks required before a child or teen comes to live with you. These checks are:

  • Registry of Criminal Offenders
  • Local Law Enforcement 
  • NH Central Registry
  • Home Visit by DCYF staff

Kinship caregivers 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 Kinship caregiver go to Becoming a Foster Parent


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