Kinship Caregivers

Kinship caregivers and suitable others are a wonderful resource for children needing out-of-home care; almost (replace with over) half of all out-of-home placed children are with kinship providers.

Considering getting licensed for kinship care?

There are many benefits to children being placed in homes with relatives and other people they already know, including decreased behavioral needs and fewer transitions in and out of homes. There are also benefits to the licensed caregiver, such as financial reimbursements and other practical supports for navigating the system. This document has a more detailed look at the benefits.

There are two ways you can become licensed as a kinship caregiver. 

A child-specific license enables you to care only for the children named in your home study.  A general license enables you to care for those same children and also the general population of children placed in out-of-home care.

The pre-training requirements for these two types of licenses differ slightly.  Here is a breakdown in the difference:

Pre-Training Requirements

Child-Specific License

General License

Kinship Core Training (KCT) eLearning (12 hours) that requires you to complete a minimum of 6 hours, with an optional Individual Support Session (ISS) to be scheduled with a live trainer. 

Caregiver Core Training (CCT) eLearning (24 hours) includes an ISS, generally an additional 1-2 hours, scheduled with a live
trainer.  The full 24 hour eLearning must be completed and the ISS is required, not optional.

CPR/First Aid

CPR/First Aid

Bloodborne Pathogens

Bloodborne Pathogens

Both KCT and CCT will enable you to pursue a child-specific license, but only CCT is accepted for those wishing to receive a general license. 

Please discuss your training and licensure options with your home study writer, as the best option for your family can depend upon a variety of factors. If you do not yet have a home study writer assigned to you, then you can discuss your options with the child’s caseworker. They will also be able to help you begin the process of getting licensed if you haven’t already.

Click here to visit the WA State Department of Children, Youth & Families (DCYF) Kinship Caregivers webpage. 

Courses The Alliance offers to support these placed children include:

Kinship 101: Information for Relatives and Suitable Others: Learn about how to manage financial needs and legal challenges, and get information about public and social service systems and resources. 

Relative/Kinship Caregiving: Navigating Change and Supporting the Children in Your Care: Explore how to navigate changing relationships between adults as well as the feelings and behaviors of the children involved in a kinship care situation. 

Building Parental Resilience for Kinship Caregivers: This course teaches kinship caregivers about the importance of self-care and practical ideas for how to do it. Participants will also learn about the behaviors that foster a protective environment for parents and children.

Additional support

The Alliance CaRES program offers direct support to you as you care for your relative child or child you know. Their website has information about how to sign up for services, find community assistance and more. You can also get connected directly with a mentor who can give you emotional support, share their experiences, and connect you to regional and state resources.