Engaging Kinship Caregivers: Managing Risk Factors in Kinship Care

Video training series: Supporting kinship caregivers

As the number of kinship caregivers increases for children in foster care and more child welfare jurisdictions adopt a “kin first” placement practice, the need to provide specialized support for relatives is becoming even more crucial. These relatives are doing what families have always done — caring for their own. However, with the added complexity of child welfare system involvement, financial stress and multigenerational loyalty binds, these families deserve assistance from professionals trained to meet their unique needs.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s recently released a five-part video training series, “Engaging Kinship Caregivers: Managing Risk Factors in Kinship Care” — featuring internationally respected kinship care expert, Dr. Joseph Crumbley — to strengthen the skills of child welfare professionals in supporting families to improve outcomes for children. The video training series includes a discussion guide to help program directors, supervisors and trainers lead group sessions to deepen the learning experience.


The video training series explores these areas:

Module 1: Guilt

This module explores how to manage the understandable feelings of guilt that relative caregivers may experience as a result of changing family dynamics.

Module 2: Loss and ambivalence

This module explores how kinship care creates interruptions of the caregiver’s plans, priorities, space and privacy and how these can contribute to feelings of loss and ambivalence for the relative caregiver. It is critical to understand how these feelings can present risk factors for the child if they aren’t addressed.

Module 3: Projections and transference

This module explores projection and transference, which are psychological terms about unconscious processes where we redirect our emotions from one person to another. They are frequently observed — especially in families — and are not inherently bad. But, they can become a risk factor in kinship care when negative feelings about the birth parent lead to “re-creating the monster” and become a “self-fulfilling prophecy.”

Module 4: Hope, fantasy and denial

This module explores how one person’s hope can be another person’s denial. Understanding how important hope is for family members is critical to empathetically working with them to maintain these hopes and to make other plans — for the sake of the child in their care.

Module 5: Loyalty issues

This module explores a universal truth: Loyalty runs deep in families. Shared blood, history, memories and interdependence hold us together as families.

Dr. Joseph Crumbley is an internationally renowned expert in kinship care known for his engaging, highly interactive trainings. He has provided training in China, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and all over the United States, including his hometown of Philadelphia. He has provided expert testimony on kinship care to the U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives and the United Nations. Crumbley co-authored “Relatives Raising Children: An Overview of Kinship Care” and wrote “Transracial Adoptions and Foster Care.”