Issue: Should kin foster parents receive the same level of financial support for the care of foster children as is provided to non-kin foster parents? Should such support be available only while the child remains in State custody, or should it continue if the child is discharged to the relative’s legal custody?
Child protection investigations are typically precipitated by a crisis in the family. Rapid decisions regarding a child’s safety must be made in the midst of chaotic situations and complex family relationships. The involvement of the child protection agency in a family also adds a new and powerful player that changes family dynamics. Assuring de
The remainder of this policy discussion focuses on issues the child welfare field is facing regarding kinship foster care; issues that arise in various forms in communities throughout the nation. There is currently wide variation in practice among the States regarding the use of relatives as foster parents, including under what circumstances they
One of the major contributions of the Advisory Panel was a discussion of principles that should guide the analysis of kinship foster care issues. Before entering into discussions of specific issues related to kinship foster care, the Advisory Panel framed tenets to ground their discussions. While there was significant agreement among the panel mem
Extended family members often provide crucial support for children during parental crises. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other relatives routinely step in to care for children when parents cannot. Usually these are informal custody arrangements handled privately among family members. Occasionally, legal custody of children is transferred to a r
In passing the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (ASFA, P.L. 105-89), the Congress recognized the growing practice of using relatives as licensed foster parents in many States and communities in the United States. As a step toward building a better understanding upon which to base future policy and legislative decisions, the Congress requeste
This section of the report was developed by staff of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services based on the input of the Advisory Panel on Kinship Care and the deliberations of Departmental officials. It represents the recommendations of the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
See Chapter 5 for a complete discussion of data limitations.
Throughout this report, we differentiate between these two types of arrangements. When we wish to discuss both types of arrangements together, we refer to them as simply kinship care.
Takas used similar terms to differentiate kinship care arrangements, but her definition of public k
Public kinship care increased significantly in the 1980s and 1990s and now represents a significant portion of the nation's children in foster care. Kinship care, both public and private, appears to be very different from non-kin foster care, and States have developed policies to address the specific needs and circumstances of public kinship careg
This chapter includes all available information on three of the items for which Congress specifically requested information: services provided to kinship caregivers and to birth parents, birth parents’ access to their children in care, and permanency plans for children in kinship care. Listed below are additional information needed and potential
To date, no reliable data have been gathered on the differences in the health or well-being of either children or providers as a result of public kinship care. Public kinship children and caregivers do differ from non-kin on a number of point-in-time indicators (Chapter 3), but it is uncertain whether such differences result from the care arrangem
Public kinship care appears to offer stable placements for children; however, if these placements are not considered acceptable permanent goals, they may impede other options for permanent placement. Children in public kinship care are less likely to be reunified with their parents (AFCARS, 1998; Berrick et al., 1995; Testa, 1997), but those who a
Most studies show that children in public kinship care remain in care significantly longer than children in non-kin foster care. 39 These findings raise concerns about permanency planning. Child welfare experts have argued that children are left in public kinship care without a permanency plan or that some child welfare agencies and workers rega
Caseworkers’ goals for the permanent living arrangements of children in public kinship care appear to differ from those for children in non-kin foster care. It is difficult to determine the proportion of kin and non-kin foster children for whom permanent reunification with their birth families is a goal because the data are inconsistent. Some da
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