Informational & Practice Publications, Resources, & Tools
Kinship Care and the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008: A Web-based Toolkit
This NRCPFC web-based toolkit discusses the critical kinship care practices addressed in the Fostering Connections Act: notice to relatives, foster care licensing standards, placement with siblings, and family connections grants. The toolkit provides information and links to resources on each of these topics. The toolkit is accompanied by an organizational self study on kinship care, which can be used to review kinship care policies and practices through the lens of the Fostering Connections Act.
Tools for Working with Kinship Caregivers
This NRCPFC document provides resources that will of assistance to kinship caregivers. Child welfare professionals will also be able to find training materials, assessment tools, and handbooks for kinship caregivers. The resources are up-to-date, easy to access, and practical for caregivers. (Updated: March 2010)
Tools for Permanency - Kinship Care
The information in this NRCPFC tool can help child welfare agency and court practitioners evaluate whether or not kinship care is an option in any particular case.
NRCPFC Information Packet: Relative Placements
This information packet prepared by NRCFCPP provides a good summary of kinship care including definitions, statistics, significant policy and legislation, model programs and practices, and websites. By Vanessa Cohen. (April 2008)
Kinship Caregiver Handbooks
In the event that a child must be separated from his/her parents’ care, it is imperative that family connections are preserved for that child. One way to ensure that this occurs is through placement of children or youth in a home with a kinship caregiver. The NCCWE has compiled this state-by-state listing of free online handbooks. These handbooks assist kinship caregivers in navigating the child welfare system, provide answers to common questions, and list available resources.
Training & Curricula
Training for Kinship Caregivers
States have a variety of approaches regarding training and assessment for kinship caregivers. NRCPFC compiled information from the majority of the states here. States were contacted in Spring and Summer 2009. Note that this is not a comprehensive list of all training policies. (July 2009)
Assessing Adult Relatives as Preferred Caregivers in Permanency Planning This competency-based curriculum was developed by the National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice and Permanency Planning. It is intended to be used in coordination with your existing state laws, policies and best practices regarding safety and family study assessments, placement, permanency planning efforts, child and family well-being initiatives and foster/adoptive family licensing/approval procedures. (March 2002)
Teleconferences, Webinars, Webcasts & Videos
Kinship Care Webinar – NASFCM Annual Meeting
This free peer-to-peer webinar on kinship care was organized by the National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections for the National Association of State Foster Care Managers as a part of the NASFCM Annual Meeting (which took place virtually this year). The webinar featured presentations on approaches to kinship care in Illinois and Florida. The Recruitment and Kin Connection Project (RKCP) is a Children’s Bureau 2010 diligent recruitment grantee project administered by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services in Chicago, Illinois. RKCP embraces front-end family finding as an effective intervention strategy that contributes to building a life-long supportive network for children in care. Locating family is essential and engaging family is crucial to their approach. It is their belief that when family finding is executed with passion and a sense of urgency, it can reduce children’s time in care. Their presentation provided an overview of the Recruitment and Kin Connection Project, offered strategies for recruiting relatives and fictive kin, discussed concurrent planning, and reviewed RKCP evaluation information. Florida’s presentation focused on how to support kin and successfully keep children out of care, based on the approach of The Children’s Home in Tampa, Florida. The presenter identified key elements of a successful community model for relative caregivers and illustrated successful approaches to preventing disruption of relative placements and entries into care. Florida’s presentation helped participants to recognize the impact on your system of care of successful programming for relative caregivers. (October 30, 2013)
NRCPFC Digital Story: Benvanjae
Through Benvanjae’s story, we learn about kinship care and adoption from the perspective of a grandmother dealing with the foster care system.
“We are Still a Family: Adults Caring for their Kin” and “My Special Family: Kids in the Care of their Kin” (Videos)
In October 2003, an Improving Child Welfare Outcomes Through Systems of Care grant through the Children’s Bureau was awarded to Clark County, Nevada as a five-year demonstration project. Clark County Department of Family Services had the goal of using a community-based Systems of Care (SOC) approach to improve the safety, permanency and well-being of children living with kin caregivers. Featured at the Children's Bureau P2P Conference in Washington, DC; this film, made by Clark County, features kinship providers and young people talking about their experiences in kin caregiving. Through their narratives, viewers gain a better understanding of the challenges and rewards involved in kinship caregiving. Utilizing the input provided by these and other caregivers and youth, Clark County was able to develop strategies about how to best work to support families and to address needs of kin as identified in Fostering Connections provisions. As a result, Clark County was able to build peer-staffed supportive programming around kinship care and improve their licensing efficiency for kinship providers. (2010)
Video coming soon
NRCPFC Webcast: A Discussion about Kinship/Relative Care Practice In this webcast, Dr. Gerald P. Mallon, NRCPFC Executive Director, engaged in a conversation with one of the country’s leading experts in kinship/relative care – Dr. Joseph Crumbley. Dr. Crumbley brings decades of experience and expertise in the field of kinship/relative care. He has provided training and consultation nationally and internationally, and has consulted extensively with the Children’s Bureau’s T&TA Network and many other child welfare entities. He has additionally been a guest on the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation), PBS, Geraldo, Montel Williams Show, and Nickelodeon, and consulted with 60 Minutes, The New York Times, and The Oprah Winfrey Show on the topics of transracial adoption and kinship care. This webcast, now archived on the NRCPFC website, features an informative and lively discussion about kinship care, relative placement, and transracial adoption. (May 2009)
*Many of these resources were developed previously by the
National Resource Center for
Permanency and Family Connections (NRCPFC).
Informational & Practice Publications, Resources, & Tools
Kinship Care: The History of a Name: This article by Eileen Mayers Pasztor, DSW, explains the history of the term kinship care. (March/April 2010)
Knowledge is Power: This article by Margaux Holbert, MSW, discusses the circumstances by which children may come into kinship care, some of the challenges kinship caregivers face, and a program called KIP (Knowledge is Power) which will offer educational support groups to kinship caregivers providing inter-active activities, group discussions, informational handouts and resources. (May 2010)
Different Types of Kinship Care
Children may come to live with their grandparents or other relatives in a number of ways, and only some of those ways involve the child welfare system. Kinship care arrangements fall roughly into three categories: (1) informal kinship care, (2) voluntary kinship care, and (3) formal kinship care. This resource from Child Welfare Information Gateway provides information on the three categories of kinship care. (2010)
Working with African American Adoptive, Foster and Kinship Families
This guide was developed by AdoptUsKids to assist public and private child welfare staff in their work with prospective and current African American foster, adoptive and kinship families. It is important to remember that there is no “one size fits all” description of African American families. Rather, African American families, like all families, are diverse with various beliefs, values, and socioeconomic experiences. The guide includes the following sections: A historical perspective; strengths of African Americans; Tips to Remember; Additional Information (with resources).
Placement of Children with Relatives
In order for States to receive Federal payments for foster care and adoption assistance, Federal law requires that they "consider giving preference to an adult relative over a non-related caregiver when determining placement for a child, provided that the relative caregiver meets all relevant State child protection standards." This information provided by the Child Welfare Information Gateway summarizes State statutes regarding relatives for placement or guardianship, requirements for placement with relatives, relatives who may adopt, and requirements for adoption by relatives. ( 2013)
Stepping Up for Kids: What Government and Communities Should Do to Support Kinship Families In this policy report, the Annie E. Casey foundation explores the increased number of children living with extended family and close friends, a longtime practice known as kinship care. This publication includes the latest data for states, the District of Columbia, and the nation, as well as a set of recommendations on how to support kinship families. This resource, published by the Foundation’s KIDS COUNT project, is supplemented with several figures and charts. (2012)
Children Living with and Cared for by Grandparents: State-Level Data from the American Community Survey
Increasing numbers of children in the U.S. are living with their grandparents, many of whom are responsible for their grandchildren’s care. Grandparents may be called upon, often with little preparation, to provide primary care for their grandchildren in the face of family crisis. These circumstances can be stressful, not only for children, but for their grandparents, who often need to make major adjustments in their lives to step into a role they had not planned for, and for which they may be poorly prepared. Grandparental care can be rewarding in many ways for both children and their grandparents. Grandparents can bring economic resources, the wisdom of their years, and a sense of continuity and stability that benefit children. This brief examines recent trends, national and for each state, related to children who reside in their grandparents’ household. (October 2012)
Grandparents Living with Children: State-Level Data from the American Community Survey
In recent years, increasing numbers of grandparents in the U.S. are living with their grandchildren, and many grandparents are responsible for their care. These trends can be attributed to a number of factors, including increasing numbers of single-parent families, continued high rates of marriage dissolution, parental incarceration, parental substance abuse, and difficult economic circumstances. In addition, situations that have long accounted for some care by grandparents are parents’ death or serious disability, parental abuse or neglect, and family/cultural preference. This brief examines recent trends, national and for each state, associated with grandparents who live with grandchildren. (October 2012)
Relative Foster Care Licensing Waivers in the States: Policies and Possibilities The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 may be prompting many states to evaluate their child welfare policies and practices, including those related to foster care licensing and case-by-case waivers that may be needed in the cases of children placed with relatives. In an effort to provide states with critical information as they examine their licensing policies and practices, this document, published by CLASP and the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law, presents background information on licensing for relatives. It also includes an overview of Title IV-E (of the Social Security Act) reimbursement for relative foster homes and information on the current landscape of waivers of foster home licensing standards, as well as recommendations for licensing standards that can help further the goal of maintaining family connections for children in foster care. (September 2010)
Georgia: Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
The Department of Human Services is reaching out to grandparents raising grandchildren by providing more access to resources through all of its services/programs. This website includes resources and services that are available statewide or countywide and will serve as a place for grandparents to get further referrals for their individual needs. It includes financial, health, and social services available for grandparents raising grandchildren.
Iowa: Raising Relatives’ Children
This publication from the Iowa Foster & Adoptive Parent Association (IFAPA) was developed to assist Iowa kinship families considering an Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) placement of a child to work effectively with Iowa DHS and juvenile court. It includes information on family involvement with DHS and juvenile court, types of kinship care, and financial assistance and community resources, as well as questions to ask DHS when considering the placement of a child and question to ask the DHS social worker regarding long-term kinship placements. Additional information and suggestions are provided on the following issues: birth parent visits, talking with children about their birth parents, understanding caregiver feelings, understanding children’s issues, parenting and discipline, educational issues, transracial parenting, internet safety, preventing an abduction, children’s mental health services, mental health issues, and dealing with one’s own aging. A list of websites, books, and additional reading for relative caregivers is also provided.
New York: New York State Kinship Navigator
This program offers a comprehensive information and referral network for caregivers to learn more about services and to obtain referrals to legal, financial, educational, health/mental health, support-group and housing resources in their area. Information provided includes answers to frequently asked questions; eligibility requirements for public assistance, tax credits and childcare; access to official records; facts sheets on laws; and forums for service providers.
Virginia: Barriers to Kinship Care in Virginia
During the 2010 General Assembly Session, the Virginia Commission on Youth was directed to conduct a study of barriers to kinship care in Virginia. The purpose of this study was to examine challenges which impact kinship care, including policies, training and funding. Commission staff also was directed to review Virginia’s barrier crime laws and to compare such laws to federal requirements in order to determine their impact on kinship care placements. This Final Report of The Virginia Commission on Youth to the Governor and the Virginia General Assembly details study findings and outlines recommendations for addressing barriers. (September 2011)