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What is Kinship Care?

What is Kinship Care?

Kinship Care in South Carolina occurs when the caretaker is unable to meet the basic needs such as: food, shelter, education, healthcare, safety, etc.  South Carolina is considered a “Kin First State” meaning the agencies goal is to locate kin/fictive caregivers for children prior to placing them in foster care.

What is the definition of Kin and Fictive Kin?

Kinship caregivers are related to the child by blood, marriage or adoption.

Fictive caregivers have a relationship with the child such as: godparents, teacher, family friend, neighbor, pastor, etc.

Types of Kinship Care

Informal Kinship Care can be a private/informal arrangement made between the parent placing the child with someone they know, have a bond with or love. With informal/private cases, there isn’t any involvement (no open case) with the South Carolina Department of Social Services.

Formal Kinship Care can be private or formal arrangements when court involvement has occurred. The judge can give a family custody of the named children or the court can request and Non-Emergency Removal Hearing to open the foster care line. By opening the foster care line, the kinship caregiver will be able to act in the best interest of the child medically, educationally, and physically.

Licensed Kinship Foster Parents

A Kin/Fictive Caregiver can only become licensed if there is a current case and the foster care line is opened. The caregiver will sign DSS form 1002 (Acknowledgement of Licensing of Kinship Foster Parents) provided by the SCDSS case manager. The recommendations will be presented to the judge during the court procedure. During that court hearing, the judge will make the final decision to open the foster care line. Once the judge makes the recommendation for the foster care line to open, the SCDSS case manager will submit the Kinship packet to the Regional Licensing office. The packet will be reviewed, and the family will be provisionally licensed until they complete licensure within the 60-90-day time frame. 

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.