Formal kinship care refers to when children are placed in the legal custody of the State by a judge, and the Department of Child Safety places the children with a kinship caregiver (relative or an adult who has a significant relationship with the child).
Formal Kinship caregivers are expected to follow the guidelines set by the DCS in regard to education, medical needs, discipline, and contact with parents. In these cases, children have services provided by the DCS including medical insurance, behavioral health services and a reimbursement provided to caregivers at an unlicensed rate.
Formal Kinship caregivers also have the option of becoming licensed for the children in their care.
Licensed foster care refers to a kinship or non-kinship caregiver who has gone through the licensing process and has been granted a foster care license through the Office of Licensing and Regulation (OLR). In addition to working with system partners such as DCS and other service providers, a licensed foster home is monitored by a foster care licensing agency that can provide additional supports and advocacy to the family as well as help the family maintain their home in compliance with licensing requirements.
Kinship Foster Care resources can be found here, https://dcs.az.gov/foster-and-adoption/kinship-resources