Kinship Care

What is kinship care?

Kinship care refers to a temporary or permanent informal arrangement in which a relative or non-related adult (also known as fictive kin) has assumed the full time care of a child whose parents are unable to do so. These kin caregivers may already have a close relationship or bond with the child or family.

Who are kinship caregivers?

Kinship caregivers are one of South Carolina’s greatest resources. They are grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbors, family friends, godparents, and other people who have a meaningful connection to the child that they are now caring for because the child cannot live with his/her parents. Kinship caregivers who care for children receiving Child Protective Services have met certain requirements set forth by DSS, such as safety checks of the home.

Looking for someone who can answer your questions and help you navigate your role as a kinship caregiver?

DSS has Kinship Care Coordinators to help. Kinship care coordinators can help you navigate and advocate for you and the children in your care They can provide you with information about local resources that will support you and help your children thrive and deal with issues that may arise.

Each DSS region has a Kinship Care Coordinator available to assist you.

  • Region 1: 888-839-0155
  • Region 2: 888-839-0159
  • Region 3: 888-854-4277
  • Region 4: 888-854-4317
  • Region 5: 888-839-0157

What is the Interstate Compact?

The Interstate Compact in the Placement of Children (ICPC) is a legal agreement between all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the US Virgin Islands that controls the placement of children from one state into another state. It ensures prospective placements are safe and suitable, and guarantees that the individual or entity placing the child remains legally and financially responsible following placement.

The main purpose of the ICPC is to assess that children placed out of state have caregivers who are safe, suitable, and able to meet the child’s needs. As a legally binding agreement between the states, the ICPC ensures children have a uniform set of protections and benefits regardless of which state they move to or from.

What does the process involve?

In order for an ICPC placement request to get started, a caseworker in the state the child is located creates a packet that includes a child’s social, medical, and educational history and the current status of any court case involving the child. The packet will also include information about the person who is being considered for placement of the child in the receiving state so that the receiving state will know who they should be evaluating for possible placement.


A 100A is an important document that shows:

  • The child’s identifying information including the agency or person responsible for him.
  • Placement information including the name and address of the placement resource, type of care requested and the legal status of the child.
  • Services requested including the type of home study requested, who is supervising the placement and how often supervisory reports are needed.

The 100B form is sent from the sending state to the receiving state to indicate if the child will or will not be placed in an approved placement. It also terminates the compact once all conditions of the placement have been met.

When does the ICPC apply?
  • The placement of a child in the care or custody of a state public child welfare agency with a relative family, a foster family or an adoptive family in another state.
  • The placement of a child by any individual or entity into another state if the placement is for the purpose of adoption.
  • The placement of a child by an individual or entity into a licensed residential treatment center in another state.

The compact DOES NOT apply when:

  • The child is placed by the child’s parent, step-parent, grand parent, adult sibling, adult uncle or aunt, or legal guardian with any such relative or guardian located in another state.
  • The child is placed into a medical facility, psychiatric institution, or a boarding school located in another state.
What does a home study entail?

A home study typically includes background checks of all family members, face-to-face interviews with family members, completion of a written questionnaire and a physical inspection of the home to ensure it meets applicable safety requirements, A written home study report is prepared based on the information gathered.

How long does it take to get a placement decision?

Many factors influence how long it takes for a receiving state to decide whether or not to approve a placement. It can take time for potential families to complete all the requirements for approval, including interview, home inspections, FBI fingerprint background clearances, child welfare history checks from other states where the family has lived, reference checks and completion of relevant training. Federal law requires states to complete a report on the home study within 60 days. It does not require that placement decision be provided in this timeframe. Depending upon the circumstances, it may take longer for a receiving state to make a final decision about whether or not to approve placement.


Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children
SC Department of Social Services
ICPC Unit, Fifth Floor
1535 Confederate Avenue
Columbia, South Carolina 29202
Phone: (803) 898-7561
Fax: (803) 898-7897

Who Can Become a Licensed Kinship Foster Parent?

Who Can Become a Licensed Kinship Foster Parent?

For the purposes of Kinship Foster Care, the child must be in the legal custody of the Department of Social Services and only a relative who is related through blood, marriage, or adoption can become a Kinship Foster parent.

Licensing Requirements:

If you are interested in becoming licensed, please contact the Regional Kinship Coordinator in your region to begin the application process.

What are the benefits of becoming licensed?

A child who has been removed by the family court can be placed in the home of a caregiver with whom the child is familiar, minimizing the impact of being removed from a biological parent. Additionally, licensed kinship caregivers receive the benefits and services that unrelated licensed foster parents receive, including training, case management and support, and foster care board payments to support the child.


Click here or more information on Financial Support for Kinship