What is Kinship Care?

When parents can’t meet their child’s basic needs for safety, food, clothing, shelter, education or health care, relatives or family friends often step in to help care for the child.

Kin can be related by blood, marriage or adoption, including a grandparent, aunt, uncle, sister or brother. Kinship caregivers can also be people not related to the child but who play an important role in the child’s life.

Types of Kinship Care

  • Private/informal: Arrangement made between a parent and a relative or family friend.
  • Public/formal: Arrangement ordered by the courts. SCDSS case manager may or may not be involved.


Licensed Kinship Foster Parents

When SCDSS becomes involved with a child and identifies a kinship caregiver, that caregiver may be able to become licensed as a kinship foster parent.

Licensed kinship foster parents have support that can make placement more stable for the child, including monthly board payments.

Learn about Getting Licensed


"There are so many benefits to kinship care. They are definitely the calm amidst the storm.” — Amber Wall, family preservation worker

Child Welfare Services Transformation

Best Outcomes for Children and Families

Do you have a complaint regarding services being provided to a child by a state agency? Please submit your complaint by phone (1-800-206-1957) or an electronic submission form here with the South Carolina Department of Children's Advocacy.