Loved one talking to a young adult

Kinship Care Toolkit

A toolkit to support individuals caring for children impacted by parental addiction and/or overdose.


Kinship care can refer to grandparents, aunts/uncles, extended relatives, and family friends who are caring full-time for children who's parents can no longer care for them due to substance use/addiction, incarceration, death, or other circumstances. Kinship care helps protect children and maintains family bonds, cultural connections, and a sense of community. In response to feedback that kinship caregivers need support in talking to youth about parental substance use and overdose, NYS OASAS and the NYS Kinship Navigator developed The Kinship Care Toolkit to assist kinship caregivers in starting these difficult conversations. 

The toolkit provides information on subjects such as grief, identifying red-flag behavior in youth, having age-appropriate discussions and self-care for kinship care providers. The toolkit also includes interactive exercises for children in kinship care to help express their feelings and promote positive thinking and self-image.


Information for Kinship Caregivers

Helpful tips and guides to support kinship caregivers


    Red Flags

    How to recognize the ways children grieve to make sure they’re dealing with emotions in a healthy way.




    How to Talk About Substance Use at Every Age

    It's important to talk at every age about the risks of underage drug and alcohol use. Children who come from homes in which parents were addicted to drugs or alcohol are more likely to start using drugs earlier in their lives and become addicted more quickly than peers from homes without substance abuse.




    Connecting Everyday

    Children and teens who feel connected to their family experience better mental health and are less likely to have experiences with risky or violent behaviors as they get older



Exercises for Children in Kinship Care

Positive thinking and gratitude exercises for kids and teens in kinship care.