Each of the alternative kinship care programs visited is unique in its beginnings, founders, and goals. Regardless of the impetus or specific focus of the program, many states and localities came to the same conclusion that existing public agency support is not adequate to meet the needs of relative caregivers. Approximately half of all the alternative programs identified were developed within the last three years and several more have been implemented since the initial search. Meanwhile, some existing alternative kinship care programs have acknowledged that the size of the kinship care population and the severity of their needs are much greater than originally anticipated and are attempting to expand.
14. Some officials in Pittsburgh noted that, when the county child welfare agency began offering foster care payments instead of TANF child-only grants to kin foster parents, there was an influx of private kin who sought out child welfare involvement to enable them to get the larger payment. Administrators noted that many of these kin were caring for children who had been abused and neglected and placed by the child welfare agency prior to the consent decree.