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Keeping Families Connected:

The Choice and Challenge of Kinship Care

Guest Editors:

Prof. Yolanda R. Green, Ph.D.; School of Social Work, California State University, Long Beach

Prof. Emeriti Donna D. Petras, Ph. D.; Jane Addams College of Social Work, University of  Illinois at Chicago; and CWLA (Child Welfare League of America)

Valerie Lee, M.S.W. (May 2011); School of Social Work; California State University, Long Beach

When parents cannot take care of their children, relatives historically have stepped in to raise their younger family members.  However, over the past 20 years, numerous factors have led to a significant increase in the number of children living with kin, either informally or through the public child welfare system.  CWLA defines kinship care as the full-time care, nurturing, and protection of children by relatives, members of their tribes or clans, godparents, step-parents, or any adult with whom children have a kinship bond.  Research documents how vital kinship care is in the lives of children, however, kinship families often experience challenges and barriers to receiving needed social services. 

This Special Issue of Reflections will address the important role of kinship care in ensuring that children stay connected to their families of origin.  Narratives from relative caregivers, child welfare practitioners, and others working with kinship caregivers are welcomed.

  Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Experiences of siblings rearing siblings
  • Experiences of grandfathers or other males rearing grandchildren
  • Adults reared by relative caregivers
  • Experiences of other relatives (aunts, uncles, cousins) rearing relative children
  • What practitioners learn about the resilience of relative caregivers
  • The experiences of social workers who are also relative caregivers
  • Challenges social workers experience working with relative caregivers
  • The kinship triad (birth parent involvement in kinship families)
  • Relative caregivers and their experiences of loss

Narratives must be received no later than January 1, 2012

Please email manuscripts to Prof. Yolanda R, Green, Special Issues Editor



  • Provide a cover or title page with the following information for each author: name, highest degree, title, affiliation, mail and email addresses, phone number;
  • Write an abstract of no more than 150 words and put this on a separate page without identifying information;
  • Use APA 6th edition publications style for references;
  • Use Times New Roman style and 12 point font and Microsoft Word;
  • Do not exceed 30 double-spaced pages in length, exclusive of the abstract and references; no tables or figures accepted.