Assessing the Context of Permanency and Reunification in the Foster Care System. 2.1.4 State Initiatives


State administrators were asked if there were any new initiatives being implemented in the state to promote permanency for an update on new policy in the states. Twenty-two administrators reported some type of new initiative in their states, ranging from those dealing with services to prevent child placement to those implemented to assist in mediating termination of parental rights. Initiatives most often reported by administrators were concentrated in the areas of adoption, guardianship, and kinship care. Appendix B provides a glossary of terms to assist in understanding initiatives listed in the table below.

Nine administrators reported initiatives dealing with the recruitment of adoptive parents or post-adoptive services. Also, nine administrators mentioned some type of guardianship project starting or ongoing in their state. Guardianship initiatives ranged from simplifying the guardianship process to offering subsidized guardianship. Included among the nine were two states with Title IV-E Waivers for guardianship.

Table 3-3. 
State Initiatives
State Initiative Number of States Reporting
Adoption 9
Guardianship 9
Kinship or relative caregiver support 7
Concurrent planning 4
Foster care recruitment 3
Family group decisionmaking 2
Family to Family Initiative 2
Managed care 2
TPR mediation 2
Birth parent support for reunification 1
Performance-based foster care reimbursement 1
Permanency planning coordinator 1
Permanent placement program for children 1
Preventive services 1
Foster care caseload reduction 1
Substance abuse provider partnerships 1
Visitation 1

In addition to the high number of adoption and guardianship initiatives, kinship care initiatives were also highly reported. Seven state administrators reported some type of kinship support measure instituted to support relative caregivers, including specific measures to support grandparent caretakers. Other initiatives mentioned included concurrent planning (N=4), foster care recruitment (N=3), TPR mediation (N=2), family group decisionmaking (N=2), and managed care initiatives (N=2).

State administrators were also asked about special or innovative reunification efforts ongoing in their state. Many administrators discussed ongoing reunification efforts, some instituted as part of their statewide reunification services to families, other efforts were specialized programs offered for reunification clients with particular problems (i.e., substance abuse or children in therapeutic foster care). After review of the efforts described by administrators, further discussions were conducted with program administrators for 12 reunification programs in states across the country. Appendix C provides brief descriptions of the 12 reunification programs we reviewed for further research.

After further review of the 12 programs, four programs that appeared to be innovative and unique in the nature of services provided to clients were chosen for further study. Reports on these reunification programs are provided in Appendix D.