Kinship Care

Program details

Credits required: 9

Location Format   
Online Online

Industry highlights

Our program faculty are leaders in research and training in grandparenting and kinship care.

Graduate certificate

Support children and caregivers in the kinship care system

Research shows us that kinship care (care of children by relatives or close family friends) may benefit children in many ways that foster care does not. If you work with adults and children in kinship care situations, our certificate program will equip you with specialized skills and competencies related to:

  • Understanding the challenges faced by caregivers, children and parents
  • Supporting and building family engagement and resiliency
  • Accessing available resources
  • Helping kinship caregivers navigate health care and education systems
  • Developing and implementing effective programs for members of kinship care families

Why kinship care at Western Michigan University

This completely online, 9-credit program can be completed in less than 12 months. Its online format allows for flexibility in when and where you complete your assignments, without losing out on learning from WMU’s high-quality faculty who are based on main campus.

One of those faculty members is Dr. Andrea Smith, a well-recognized researcher of kinship care and grandparenting. Dr. Smith has received many grants for research, traveled internationally to advise and train on kinship care, and is a co-collaborator in the National Research Center on Grandparents Raising Grandchildren with Georgia State University.

Who should apply

People with both a bachelor's degree and professional experience working in social services or with children, parents and adults in kinship care settings or cases. The flexible nature of the online program is great for students who wish to continue working full time while completing the certificate.

Employer tuition reimbursement

If your employer has a tuition reimbursement program, find out about WMU’s deferment program for employer paid tuition.