Voices’ Blog

Kinship Care Proposals in the 2020 Legislative Session

Posted:  -  By: Allison Gilbreath

Virginia is ranked 49th in the country for the number of children aging out of foster care without a permanent connection. Children at-risk of entering foster care are more likely to achieve permanency when they are placed with a relative. However, in Virginia only 6 percent of are placed with a relative when entering foster care. Relatives often want to step up, but are unable to do so because of lack of resources and support.

2020 Session Kinship Care Proposals Under Consideration

Relative Support Payments for Children Outside of Foster Care


The Governor included $16 million over two years to provide financial support payments for relatives caring for children outside of foster care.  This program would only be available for children going into kinship care after July 1, 2020.


Families would receive an additional $200 per child through this program, in addition to the child-only TANF amounts they are currently eligible for. Under this new program, a caregiver raising two relative children would receive approximately $726 per month.

State-Funded Kinship Guardianship Assistance Program (SB570- Mason; HB920- Brewer)


KinGAP was established in Virginia in 2018 to facilitate placements with relatives and ensure permanency for children for whom adoption or being returned home are not appropriate. The bill would do the following:

  • Remove the requirement found in the federal KinGAP for the potential guardian to be a licensed foster parent for the child for six consecutive months, that being returned home or adopted is not an appropriate permanency option for the child and adds the requirement that “the placement of the child in the home of the prospective kinship guardian is in the child’s best interest.”

The Impact

This will increase enrollment for children enrolled in KinGAP and help more children achieve permanency.

Kinship Guardianship Assistance program; eligibility for fictive kin (SB178- Favola;HB 933– Carroll Foy)


Expands eligibility for the Kinship Guardianship Assistance program (described above) by allowing payments to be made to fictive kin who receive custody of a child of whom they had been the foster parent. Fictive kin are those who can demonstrate an existing relationship to the child at-risk of entering foster care.


This will increase enrollment for children enrolled in KinGAP and help more children achieve permanency.

Kinship foster care; training and approval processes (SB1025- Dunnavant)


This bill would require local departments of social services to waive training requirements necessary for the approval of a kinship foster parent upon determining that training requirements are a barrier to placement with the relative or kin. The bill prohibits social services from requiring that a child be removed from the physical custody of a kinship foster parent during such approval process.


This bill addresses many the concerns from kinship families who want to quickly have custody of children, but do not want to risk the child not being placed in their home upon formally entering foster care.

Kinship Care Impacted Advocacy

We are grateful to families across the Commonwealth who have participated over the past several years to educate lawmakers about kinship care. In 2017, Voices went on a kinship care listening tour where we heard stories of hardship and resilience. We would not have gotten this far without the families willingness to share their stories with us and legislators.

Kinship Support Group of Chesterfield

Kinship Care Support Group meeting with Senator Dunnavant


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