Kinship is any living arrangement in which a relative or someone else who is emotionally close to the child takes primary responsibility for raising the child. This living arrangement can either be an "in CAS care" in a Kin foster home or "out of CAS care" through a court order or agreement.

Benefits of Kinship

Children can live with people who they know and trust and have some connection to their family of origin. The integrity of the family's cultural and ethnic identity is supported· Children may be able to remain in their own community. A child's sense of belonging to a family is often enhanced.

The Kinship Program

  • Searches actively for kith and/or kin for the purpose of a placement
  • Completes a child-specific home study with the focus of securing a placement for the child(ren)
  • Provides Child and Youth Work support to children and families during the child(ren)'s transition into their new home and later on when needed
  • Collaborates with the family and other service providers in the assessment process
  • Assigns a Resource Worker to provide support and consultation to the Kin Foster Parents while ensuring they follow the Society's policies and the licensing requirements of the Ministry of Children and Youth Services

Referral Process

Contact the child's worker if you know his or her name. If you don't know the name, call Intake at 416-924-4646.

How to become a Kin Provider

  • Participate in a strengths based assessment, focusing on the child's needs 
  • Attend education training sessions 
  • Complete the following checks: Criminal Record; Child Welfare History; Medical Report; Personal references

Kinship Care: Changing the Concept of Family, One Home at a Time

Two young boys are kicking a worn soccer ball against the side of the house. They are so similar in appearance they could be twins. They both stop for a moment and stare at the social worker as she steps out of her car. As she comes closer and says hello, one boy steps forward:

"When is the baby coming? Do you have her now?"

Catherine Crea is an Assessment worker with the Kinship program at the Children's Aid Society of Toronto. Workers with this program actively search for potential family members and assess their suitability as caregivers for children coming into our care. The program is grounded in the belief that a family member, who understands the history, community or culture of the child, may be able to provide comfort and safety for children who cannot live safely with their parents.

"This is something that makes so much sense to me. This service direction is now supported by changes in the legislation. These changes compel a close examination of family options for the care of a child in need of protection at the very earliest stages of the court process" says Catherine Crea, Kinship Assessment Worker. “Another important development is the broadening of the definition of "family" to include a family friend or a member of the child's community."

A Kinship placement requires a thorough assessment and the safety and protection of the child is central to our decision-making. The child is not just placed with any family member around. Police checks, safety checks and making sure a caregiver is prepared both emotionally and physically to take care of the child are all part of the assessment. It is evening and Catherine is doing a first interview for a kinship placement. She will assess the suitability of the potential family member and determine whether this potential caregiver can meet the needs of the baby. She doesn't foresee much difficulty; this grandmother already has taken care of her first grandson since he was a baby.

It is late evening now and the two boys have realized the baby will not be coming tonight. But they are showing no lack of energy as Amelia, the boy’s grandmother, patiently answers Catherine's questions and instructs the boys to get ready for bed. Catherine is taking her time going through the questionnaire and jotting down Amelia’s answers. When Catherine asks why she wants to take on the responsibility of caring for her infant granddaughter after already looking after three of her own children plus a grandson, a puzzled look crosses Amelia's face. She laughs, saying, "She is family." Pausing for a moment, she continues. "If it makes more sense to you, I was adopted. And I understand, my mother was young, she could not take care of me. But still, I wish my grandmother had taken me in. And I never want them to come to me, I never want Daniel or my granddaughter to come back to me and say, 'Grandma, why didn't you do anything? Why couldn't you take care of me?' "