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.
Report to the Congress on Kinship Foster Care. State Implementation of Recent Federal Policy Changes
Because States are still implementing programs to reflect recent Federal policy changes, it is uncertain how these policy changes will affect kinship care families. States that have received IV-E waivers must undergo rigorous evaluation of the demonstration program they develop. Because these waivers are relatively new, however, it may be several
Passed in 1997, ASFA is one of the first pieces of Federal legislation that acknowledges the unique position of kin within the foster care system. The law differentiates between public kinship care and non-kin foster care in two ways. First, it clearly indicates that “a fit and willing relative” could provide a “planned permanent living arra
Report to the Congress on Kinship Foster Care. Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act
Although PRWORA is known as the legislation that reshaped the nation’s cash assistance landscape, it may also have a significant impact on kinship care. Under PRWORA, Congress required States to “consider giving preference to an adult relative over a non-related caregiver when determining a placement for a child, provided that the relative car
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
Three recent Federal laws are likely to affect kinship care: congressional amendments to the Social Security Act, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), and the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (ASFA).
Litigation has played a large role in influencing states’ payments and services to public kinship caregivers (Figure 4). As mentioned previously, the landmark decision of Miller v. Youakim determined that kin who care for IV-E-eligible children and who meet the same State licensing standards as non-kin foster parents are entitled to the same F
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
Under most State policies, case workers are expected to provide the same degree of supervision for kinship caregivers as they do for non-kin foster parents (Boots and Geen, 1998). However, these State policies are not consistent with the reported experiences of kinship families (see Chapter 4).
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
In placing children in foster care, all but two States reported in 1997 that they gave preference to kin over unrelated foster parents, and 30 States and the District of Columbia reported doing so for more than the past five years (Boots and Geen, 1999). 18 However, it is unclear how States’ preference for kin is implemented. For example, there
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.
Throughout the early development of the Federal foster care system, child welfare policies ignored the role of kin caregivers. If States provided assistance to kin caregivers, they did so through income assistance programs, thus effectively keeping them out of the child welfare services and payment systems. In large part, this was due to child wel
The first major Federal policy affecting kin was a 1950 Social Security Act amendment that offered eligible relatives two ways to receive AFDC assistance for children in their care. First, they could apply for assistance for themselves and for the children just like any other needy family. Second, they could receive payment for only the child or c
Federal support for kinship care families is guided by both income assistance and child welfare policies. While Federal income assistance policy has specifically articulated the public support available to kin caregivers, Federal child welfare policy and guidance have been vague, allowing States latitude in determining when and how to support kin