It refers to the full-time parenting of children by individuals related by blood, law, or marriage. In some contexts, it also includes care provided by “members of [a] tribe or clan, godparents, stepparents, or other adults who have a kinship blood with a child” (CWLA 1994), although these caregivers are more widely referred to as “kith”. While gaining increasing contemporary attention in social-policy circles, the practice of rearing a relative’s child is ancient and global. In early Hawaiian cultures, for example, paternal grandparents typically claimed the first-born son, and maternal grandparents the first-born daughter, as their own (Luomala 1987, p. 1-45). In many African nations, kinship care has been widely practices for decades (Hegar 1999), and in colonial America children who lost their parents to death or incapacity were typically reared by grandparents or other relatives (Trattner 1994, p. 39-49).
Public-policy makers generally appreciate the role of relatives in the lives of children; without their assistance, many children might otherwise be forced into the arms of the state and/or strangers for custody and support. Yet efforts to affirm grandparent’s labors in a no-strings-attached policy environment, where parents are tacitly discouraged from raising their children, may have unwittingly contributed to the development of social trends in family patterns and unregulated care for children that is less than ideal. Instead, acknowledgement of the role grandparents play in the lives of children can be balanced by a combination of social recognition, financial support, and modest bureaucratic regulation. The more generous financial support, and the fewer obligations attached to the funding, the greater the concern that such assistance may create opportunities for and pressures on parents to move children into more economically stable environments in the homes of relatives. ...
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I equate this with medical doctors, who take the Hippocratic Oath, to save lives, at any cost. I adhere to the school of thought that all children have the same rightful opportunity for education, regardless of any disability they may have. At the same time, I see the difficult challenges for educators, who need to use effective tools “to create the best possible learning environment for children with disabilities.” CITATION WEA11 \l 1033 In line with the above, this paper highlights children with special needs, rather than children with disabilities.
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