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Berkshire Farm Center & Services For Youth
September is National Kinship Awareness Month!
At Berkshire, we believe in a kin-first philosophy. This means that, when possible, youth should be placed with people they know (kinship foster parents) rather than someone they don’t. Seems simple, right? With this comes a different way of thinking about foster care, a new set of challenges and a new set of benefits. Berkshire’s Foster Care Team would like to ask you to join them in celebrating Kinship Awareness Month by learning a little bit about Kinship Care at Berkshire.
On average, a foster parent thinks about the decision to become a foster parent for over 2 years before moving forward. Kinship Foster Parents (a relative or someone the child knew prior to coming into care), do not often have this luxury. Kinship Foster Parents are often approached with very little notice and asked to take in a child, or multiple children, to prevent them from being placed with someone they don’t know. It is a heroic, life-changing decision that comes with many unexpected challenges for caregivers.
What’s more, Kinship Foster Parents are more often able to provide continuity of a child’s family, culture and identity within their home community. This is essential to our mission at Berkshire, "To strengthen children and families so they can live safely, independently, and productively within their home communities". Not only that, but compared to non-kin foster care placements, children in kinship foster care have significantly better long-term outcomes.