The Children’s Home Network offers a multitude of services for at-risk children and their families. One of its most innovative programs is called the Kinship program, which provides services to grandparents and other family members who have taken in abused, neglected or abandoned children.

The Children’s Home Network is a local nonprofit that serves nearly 7,000 children and adults each year. Larry Cooper is the executive vice president of innovation at the Children’s Home Network. He has spent more than 20 years providing help to grandparents and relatives who welcome abused, abandoned and neglected children into their home.

Cooper spearheaded the innovative Kinship program. Kinship care involves a child raised by relatives or other close adults with whom they have a family-like relationship. It can be coordinated either formally through the child welfare system or, more commonly, through informal family arrangements during a family crisis.

Many families struggle with adapting to kinship care arrangements, an issue made worse by the absence of state support services that foster families typically receive.

Cooper said, “Every year, more and more grandparents, aunts, uncles, older siblings and family friends step up to care for children whose parents are no longer able to do so. Many of these kinship caregivers are often ill-equipped to handle the complex needs of being a primary caregiver, unaware of the resources available to them, and unfamiliar with the child welfare system.”

In Florida, for every child placed in traditional foster care, there are seven children in kinship care. In 2020, this amounted to 165,000 children in kinship care across the state, compared to 23,000 children in traditional foster care placements. Child welfare agencies across the nation continue to prioritize placing children with adults whom they know instead of turning to nonrelative foster parents.

The Children’s Home Network’s Kinship program connects caregivers raising kinship children with services and resources to support family stability and self-sufficiency. Its services include providing food, clothing and housing resources; accessing public benefits; financial and legal aid; peer support groups; tutoring; and referrals for medical and behavioral health care.

This collaborative program focuses on not just the well-being of the child but that of the whole family as well, ensuring that caregivers have the physical, emotional and financial means to care for the child.

The Children’s Home Network was founded in 1893 under the name Children’s Home of Tampa. The organization provides integrated child welfare, behavioral health, early childhood intervention and social service programs for at-risk children and their families across Florida.

For more information on the Children’s Home Network, please visit

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