Graduate Certificate in Kinship Care Families

adult holding child's hand

Program Description

This program is offered in-person, hybrid and online.

The number of kinship care families, where grandparents and other relatives care for children whose own parents are unable to care for them, continues to increase in the United States and throughout the world. These family members experience unique challenges related to their living situation. Western Michigan University's Graduate Certificate in Kinship Care is specifically designed for professionals from varied fields to enhance their professional knowledge and skills when working with adults or children living in kinship care families.

Why Kinship Care at Western Michigan University

Coursework addresses multi-generational challenges, education systems, healthcare systems, economic challenges, and existing programs and services. Five Kinship Care courses are offered online to accommodate both U.S. and international students and can be completed within one calendar year. Students may elect to take some or all of the courses within this specialization area. Those wishing to complete a graduate program in Family and Consumer Sciences may use these courses toward that degree.

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

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.

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