Numerous state and federal laws govern kinship (non-parental/relative) care of children. Federal laws are mainly concerned with assistance to families and with child welfare. State laws implement federal law and provide more governance in these areas and also almost exclusively govern family custodial issues. Yet, together both federal or state bodies of law do not comprehensively address the range of legal issues that burden kinship families. States and federal laws still need to enact laws and regulations that provide more legal rights and assistance that will empower kinship families to successfully care for children.

In this legal brief, we attempt to outline the “rights” of kinship families. These rights divide into two core areas where kinship laws remain incomplete: 1) the opportunity to care for children, and 2) enabling caregivers to successfully care for children.

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