Skip to main content

Oregon State Flag An official website of the State of Oregon »

Oregon Department of Human Services Search Site

Relative and Kinship Connections

Common questions Ways you can help Getting started Español

Are you a relative or do you have a strong connection with a child in foster care?

Sometimes you are the exact person a child needs.

When children must enter foster care, our primary goal is to find a relative or someone close to the family to care for them. This aligns with our Child Welfare Division Vision for Transformation. Keeping connected to relatives and kin helps children retain a sense of belonging and acceptance and preserves culture.

Relative connections are important because:

  • Children know they are loved and have a stronger sense of belonging
  • Children are healthier and do better when they know and are in contact with their family
  • Family members help preserve a child's culture and history
  • Increased connections and supports lead to stability and additional resources

Common questions

Because every family system is unique, the definition of a child or young adult’s relatives is broad in order to capture 
all persons who are considered family within unique family systems.

In some families, every blood relative is considered family, while in others, both blood and legal relatives are considered family. In yet others, godparents, neighbors, family friends, tribes, stepparents, domestic partners, ​​etc, might be considered family due to the role those persons play in the family system and/or the emotionally significant relationship they have with the child or the child’s family.

The full definition of a relative is found in Oregon Administrative Rule 413-070-0000(80).

​​​We talk with parents, kids and known family to identify who their family is. We have search specialists across Oregon who use search engines and social media to locate relatives and help find ​contact information so we can send formal notice and invite support for the family.

​Grandparents have a right to receive court notice. All relatives have a right to be notified that their relative is in care and that they can ​meet with the child or young adult.

We work with parents to invite relatives to family meetings so they can be informed about the status of the case and how they might be involved in the case plan.

​​Caseworkers spend time with children placed in foster care a minimum of every 30 days. Caseworkers also will have monthly contact with you and visit you in your home every 60 days.

Your certifier will be available to you for support and guidance. You will see your certifier regularly; time between visits will be no longer than every 180 days. They will invite you to training, provide information and manuals and share other community resource ​family organizations and support resources, as well as partner and county social media sites.​

Our Resource Parent Training and Support​ website has information, training and support for caregivers.​

ODHS pays a monthly amount to cover the cost of each child's care, but relative resource parents themselves are volunteers. The payment rate depends on each child's age and level of need. Children's medical and dental costs are also covered by a state-funded health plan. You can find more details at Foster Care Payments and Rates​.

How do I get started?

Ways to help

Any kind of connection that helps maintain family and cultural ties is beneficial to a child in care. Some ways to provide support include:

Supporting safety planning so children can be reunified with their parents

Grandparents making regular phone calls

Family camping trips

Birthday cards


Cultural events

Supporting family time with parents

Family visit/vacation time

Sharing photos and stories

Helping the child make an All About Me book

Connecting resource parents with family culture