Guardianship by family members—called KinGap in New York City—is an option instead of adoption. Here, Julie Farber, deputy commissioner of Family Permanency Services at NYC’s Administration for Children’s Services, explains KinGap:
The Kinship Guardianship Assistance Program, or KinGap, is designed to help a child in foster care achieve a permanent home with a relative. The key difference from adoption is that the biological parent’s rights aren’t terminated and the child isn’t adopted, but the relative still receives the same financial support as an adoptive parent.
KinGap works well when a birth parent and a relative have an understanding. Let’s say you and I are sisters and I have a drug problem, and we’ve acknowledged that while I’m working on my issues, what’s best for my child is to be with her aunt. KinGap keeps the child in her own family and makes it easier for the child to maintain contact with her parent.
The flip side is that when parents are upset that their children can’t return home, that can strain the relationship with the relative.
It’s important to talk about what this is going to look like. The parent and guardian can request to have a formal visitation order put in place, or they can make a plan informally.
Most importantly, we want parents to understand that if reunification isn’t possible, adoption is not the only option.
KinGAP unit number: 212-513-0927