Grandparents, Relatives and Other Caregivers
Play Important Role in Foster Care
DCFS has approximately 3,300 children in foster care on any given day in Louisiana. Of these, about 38% are placed with either a relative or “fictive kin” who are like family but not actually related to the child in their care. Grandparents, relatives, and fictive kin all play an essential role in caring for a child whose parents cannot do so.
When a child or teen temporarily lives with a relative or fictive kin, it’s called kinship care. The living arrangement can be a formal one through DCFS or an informal agreement among family members. DCFS looks to kinship caregivers to maintain meaningful relationships, minimize disruption in a child’s life, and preserve connections and cultural ties.
DCFS partners with Louisiana 211 to operate a Kinship Navigator program which provides information, resources, and a referral network for current or potential kinship caregivers. Louisiana 211 provides grandparents, relatives, and fictive kin with information about resources and assistance available in their communities. When caregivers dial 211 or text KinshipLA to 898-211, they are linked to assets for helping children succeed.
Since the partnership between DCFS and Louisiana 211 began, more than 5,000 clients have relied on Louisiana 211 to locate specialized help and support for kinship caregivers in local communities throughout our state. The top 5 needs categories met by referrals to available help include:
- Housing: 1,047
- Income Support/Assistance: 870
- Individual, Family, and Community Support: 818
- Utility Assistance: 782
- Food/Meals: 672
More information about DCFS’s Kinship Navigator Program can be found at dcfs.la.gov/kinship-navigator, by dialing 211 or texting KinshipLA to 898-211. Kinship caregivers can also contact Family Resource Centers (FRCs) for more information and services. DCFS operates 9 FRCs across the state that provide direct, referral, and concrete services for those caring for relative or fictive kin. FRCs work to strengthen family engagement and well-being, provide stability to improve child safety, reduce family trauma and build community connections to wrap around our families.
Family members and other trusted adults who are like family are our vital partners in ensuring the well-being and safety of children whose parents may be struggling. Whether a family is involved with DCFS or not, we will work to support kinship caregivers as they step in to meet the needs of the children in their care.
DCFS always needs kinship caregivers. If you are interested in serving as a kinship caregiver for a child or youth in foster care, please get in touch with the child or youth’s foster care worker. DCFS also needs foster parents to serve the general population of children and youth in foster care. Please visit our website or call your regional office for more information if you feel the call to serve in this capacity. For more information, you can also email DCFS.HomeDevelopment@la.gov with your name and parish of residence.
January Adoption Feature
Each month we feature two children who are available for adoption in Louisiana. For January, we’d like to introduce you to Emerial Lawrence and Christian Reed from the Alexandria Region.
Emerial is a special-needs child who is 12 years old. She enjoys a good meal and loves listening to music, watching TV, playing Patty Cake, swinging, and playing in the water. Emerial would benefit from parents who can meet her needs with love and patience and help her reach her full potential.
Christian is also a 12-year-old child from the Alexandria Region. He is an excellent student and loves animals and the outdoors. He also enjoys Cajun food and attending church. Christian is looking for a patient, supportive family who will help him explore and learn new things.
If you are considering adoption or fostering a child, take that first step by attending a free virtual orientation session. For more information about becoming a foster/adoptive parent and the training available, visit dcfs.la.gov/foster.