Permanency refers to the child welfare goal of securing, as quickly as possible, a stable living arrangement for children who must be removed from their parents’ homes. As discussed below, the unique nature of kinship care often makes traditional plans for permanency—specifically, reunification with parents or adoption— problematic. Moreover
Given the differing standards to which many public kinship caregivers are held by child welfare agencies, policy makers and child welfare experts alike have questioned the safety of these arrangements (Kusserow, 1992). Three types of concerns have been raised: that public kinship caregivers may themselves be abusive parents; that they may not prev
Report to the Congress on Kinship Foster Care. Family Continuity, Access of Birth Parents to Children
Foster care can be extremely disruptive for children, threatening their sense of belonging and causing anxiety over the temporary nature of their living situation (Dore and Kennedy, 1981; Laird, 1979; Pecora et al., 1992). Public kinship care placements appear to minimize this disruption, may be less traumatic than placements with non-kin provider
Foster parents seek to provide a safe, stable, and family-like setting for children who cannot live with their parents. Foster care is meant to be temporary, with children returning home or finding an alternative permanent placement as soon as possible. Unfortunately, being placed in foster care can be traumatic for children. Moreover, studies hav
Report to the Congress on Kinship Foster Care. Services Provided to Public Kinship Caregivers and to Birth Parents
Not only are public kinship caregivers less likely than non-kin foster parents to receive services, their needs are more often overlooked. Public kinship caregivers are referred for, offered, and actually receive fewer services for themselves and for the children in their care (Barth et al., 1994; Berrick et al., 1994; Chipungu and Everett, 1994;
Report to the Congress on Kinship Foster Care. Supervision and Information Provided to Public Kinship Care Families
Several studies show that child welfare workers tend to supervise public kinship care families less than non-kin foster families (Beeman et al., 1996; Berrick et al., 1994; Brooks and Barth, 1998; Chipungu et al., 1998; Dubowitz, 1990; Gebel, 1996; Iglehart, 1994). For example, one study found that caseworkers conduct less frequent home visits and
Report to the Congress on Kinship Foster Care. Child Welfare Service Delivery and Supervision of Kinship CARE Families
Many States have developed different policies for public kinship and non-kin foster care (Chapter 2). Available data suggest that child welfare workers’ service delivery and supervision practices for public kinship care families also differ.
Report to the Congress on Kinship Foster Care. Chapter 4 Experiences of Public Kinship Care Families
Given the differences in their circumstances and characteristics, it is not surprising that the experiences of public kinship care families differ from those of non-kin foster care families. Specifically, it appears that child welfare caseworkers treat public kinship care families differently than they do non-kin foster families. They provide less
This chapter includes all available information on two of the items for which Congress specifically requested information: the conditions under which children enter care and the characteristics of kinship caregivers and their households. Listed below are additional information needed and potential sources of this information.
Report to the Congress on Kinship Foster Care. Summary of the Characteristics of Kinship CARE Households
Kinship care families appear to be very different from non-kin foster families in several key ways:
Unlike non-kin foster parents, kinship caregivers usually receive little, if any, advance preparation for their role. In all States, non-kin foster parents are required to complete a rigorous training program before the State will license them. Such training helps future foster parents understand the needs of abused or neglected children and emp
While both public kinship and non-kin foster parents care for children whom the state may need to protect, the circumstances leading to placement appear to be different. For example, children in public kinship care are more likely to have been removed from a parent’s home because of abuse or neglect, as opposed to parent-child conflict or a beha
Report to the Congress on Kinship Foster Care. Chapter 3 How Do Kinship Families Differ from Non-Kin Foster Care Families?
Kinship care is by definition different from non-kin foster care because the caregivers are related to or have a prior relationship with the children in their care. As one expert has noted, “To view kinship care as simply a form of foster care ignores the unique dynamics and varied definition of family within a multi-cultural context. Kinship ca
This chapter includes all available information on two of the items for which Congress specifically requested information: the costs and sources of funds for kinship care and State policies regarding kinship care. Listed below are additional information needed and potential sources of this information.
Together, Federal and State policies create a maze of varying kinship care definitions, policies, and practices.
In 1994, through amendments to the Social Security Act, Congress gave the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) authority to approve child welfare demonstration projects that waive certain federal legislative and regulatory requirements under titles IV-E and IV-B. These demonstration projects allowed up to 10 States to test the effectivenes
While all kin are eligible for child-only grants under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, 22 state foster care payments to public kinship caregivers are directly related to how they are licensed. Some States have different payments for each licensing standard. Others pay families in the same licensing category at differen
Since many public kinship caregivers are not eligible to receive federal funds, 19 many States have created less stringent licensing options for them. Further, the licensing of a kinship caregiver as a foster parent can be a function of both State policies as well as the family’s preference for licensing and payment. Figure 2 defines five licen
States’ definitions of who is kin or a relative within the child welfare system vary greatly. While many States still insist that kin have to be related to a child by blood or marriage, as of 1996, 19 States and the District of Columbia reported using a definition of kin that includes neighbors, godparents, and other adults who have a close rela
With limited Federal guidance, State child welfare policies have come to treat kinship care differently from non-kin foster care. Moreover, States differ in whom they allow to be kin foster parents, how they supervise them, and what financial support they provide them.