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In this note, Ms. Gipson Rankin discusses kinship care as an alternative to placing children into foster care. For generations, particularly in the Black community, grandparents and other older relatives have played a crucial role in raising the children of younger relatives when they have become unable or unwilling to raise the children themselves. This system, known as kinship care, has ensured that thousands of American children are cared for and raised by members of their own families. The note explores the history and nature of the kinship care system, and analyzes federal and state policies that impact the system. The author considers why many Black grandparents do not choose to enter into a legal relationship with the children whom they are raising and the legal ramifications of this decision. Ms. Gipson Rankin also provides nonintrusive alternatives that states could implement to encourage more grandparents to enter into a legal relationship with the children who are in their care.

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Elder Law Journal





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