What Kinship Means to Staff

LSS has the honor to work with children and families in the Kinship Home Study and Kinship Locator programs. These are programs that are contracted and work in conjunction with the South Dakota Department of Social Services. A staff of five Kinship Home Study Specialists located throughout the state complete comprehensive home studies with relatives who are interested in being a placement for a child or children in the custody of the state. A staff of two Kinship Locators, who serve two areas of the state, work to locate, identify, and engage relatives who may be potential placements and/or connections for these children as well.

LSS and DSS are committed to placing children with relatives/kin when they are not able to remain with their parents. The staff who works in the Kinship Programs believe in this philosophy as they carry out their daily work. I asked staff to share what Kinship means to them as they work with kinship families. Their answers confirmed that they see this as an important mission to the children and families we serve – see below:

Kinship is giving of oneself out of love and concern for family – with few expectations – but rewards with peace and joy and love when all works out for good. -Dianne

Kinship means never allowing a child to feel that they are lost in this world, to ensure that they always have someone who can keep them connected to their roots.  -Josh

Every family needs someone to listen, which is what the Kinship Program provides.   -Paula

What kinship means to me: a hidden strength. -Tasha

Families working together!!   -Darhleen

Kinship is everything to all youth I deal with, as it is family.  Throughout the years I have found that no matter how imperfect the youth’s family is, they will always love and care for them.  There is no better feeling in the work world than reuniting a youth with their family, whether it be a placement or a connection.   -Mike

Kinship is about family maintaining those connections and healthy relationships that mold who we become later in life. No family is perfect but it’s important to embrace and appreciate each unique quality of a family unit. -Briana

There are no unwanted children, just unfound families. -Dede


submitted by Dede Mogck, Kinship Program Manager

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