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
Our nation’s child protection system emerged from a series of public and private responses to child poverty. Prior to 1850, poor children lived in almshouses, along with adult men and women, the aged and disabled, and the mentally ill. In the 1850s, the belief that the needs of poor children were distinct from those of adults gained acceptance,
Report to the Congress on Kinship Foster Care. Chapter 2 The Evolution of Kinship Care in Federal and State Policy
In examining how Federal policies have evolved to include kin, it is important to understand how and why the child welfare system grew out of, and has been intertwined with, income assistance policy. This history illustrates the ongoing debate over the appropriate public response to child poverty, including when to remove poor children from their
Despite States’ growing reliance on kin as foster parents, questions remain about how to use kin most effectively, including the extent to which they should be treated differently from non-kin foster parents. Moreover, State child welfare officials and other experts have questioned whether existing Federal child welfare policies, developed almos
Report to the Congress on Kinship Foster Care. Factors Contributing to Increased Use of Public Kinship Care
States’ increasing use of kin as foster parents is largely due to three changes in their child welfare systems. First, the number of non-kin foster parents has not kept pace with the number of children requiring care. Between 1985 and 1990, the number of children in foster care increased by 47 percent, while the number of available foster famili
Although data are limited, it appears that in 1997, approximately 200,000 children were in the care of foster parents who were related to them (Geen and Clark, 1999). 8 Table 1 provides data from 39 States on the number of children in public kinship care on March 31, 1998. Among these States, public kinship care accounted for 29 percent of all ch
Report to the Congress on Kinship Foster Care. The Extent to Which Children in Foster CARE are Placed with Relatives
In 1998, approximately 2.13 million children in the United States (or just under 3 percent) were living with relatives without a parent present (U.S. Census Bureau, 1998). 5 Between 1983–1985 and 1992–1993, the number of children in such arrangements grew slightly faster than the number of children in the United States as a whole (8.4 percent
Traditionally, kinship care has been separated into two categories. Informal kinship care refers to caregiving arrangements that occur without the involvement of a child welfare agency, whereas formal kinship care refers to arrangements in which kin act as foster parents for children in State custody.
Report to the Congress on Kinship Foster Care. Chapter 1 The Role of Extended Family in Child Rearing
In its broadest sense, kinship care is any living arrangement in which a relative or someone else emotionally close to the child takes primary responsibility for rearing a child. Most kinship care takes place without the involvement or knowledge of child welfare officials. Such arrangements are not a new phenomenon. Anthropologists have documented
Traditionally, when child welfare agencies found it necessary to remove children from their parents’ homes due to abuse or neglect, they placed them in the homes of foster parents who had no prior relationship to the children or the children's family. Over the last decade, however, these agencies have increasingly relied on kin—that is, person
The extended family has long played a role in caring for children whose parents were unable to do so—a practice commonly referred to as kinship care. Over the last decade, child welfare agencies have increasingly relied on extended family members to act as foster parents for children who have been abused or neglected, yet very little information
The Research Review was developed by The Urban Institute (as a subcontractor to the Lewin Group) under contract to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation and the Administration for Children and Families Contract #HHS-100-96-0011