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September Recognized as Kinship Care Month

Mayor issues proclamation to highlight importance of family to kids in tough circumstances

DENVER – Sept. 5, 2017 – Kinship care, the act of taking in children by relatives or close family friends, gets its own official recognition this month as Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock has issued a proclamation designating September as Kinship Care Month.

For children who are unable to remain safely with their birth parents, kinship care is the preferred choice for out-of-home placement as it has been shown to help better stabilize families and ensure the child’s safety, while preserving and maintaining family relationships, as compared to other placement options (non-relative foster care, group homes, etc.). “Kin” can include grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, adult siblings, and even friends of the family. Out-of-home placements are often due to children or youth being unable to remain safely at home due to abuse/neglect or issues with substance abuse, incarceration, mental health, or domestic violence within the family.

“Kinship care is about so much more than just placing a roof over a child’s head,” Denver Human Services (DHS) Executive Director Don Mares said. “We know that kids who stay connected to family have better long-term outcomes and better chances at reunification. We’re proud of the success of our kinship care staff in making us a state leader in this area. We are also very appreciative of all of our kinship families for stepping up and providing care to our kids when they most need it.”

Denver County is one of the top-performing counties in the state in placing children in kinship care. Nearly half (48 percent) of children in out-of-home placements are placed with kin; the statewide average is about 30 percent.

DHS provides a range of support services for kinship providers including TANF navigation, workshops and training, support groups, referrals, respite care, and even basic hard-good needs such as car seats, beds, etc.

With the proclamation, the City and County of Denver joins other local, state, and national government entities in celebrating September as Kinship Care Month. As of June 2016, across the United States, approximately 2.7 million grandparents and 1.4 million other relatives were caring for children other than their own. Kinship families provide homes for more than 6 million children nationally, saving over $4 billion annually in child welfare costs.