Family Ties: Analysis From a State-By-State Survey of Kinship Care Policies

Family Ties: Analysis From a State-By-State Survey of Kinship Care Policies

A comprehensive survey of kinship care policies identifies increasing efforts by states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to promote kinship care and support kinship caregivers of children and youth who are known to the child welfare system. Read the policy data and analysis in a five-part series of briefs released throughout early 2024. The survey, fielded in 2022, was conducted by Child Trends for the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

To help build an understanding of the full landscape of kinship policies across states and to identify needed improvements, the Foundation asked Child Trends to conduct a survey of state child welfare administrators. The survey updates and expands on the findings of a similarly comprehensive survey conducted in 2007. Agencies in the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico received the 2022 survey; 46 completed it.

The analysis shows states’ increasing reliance on placing children with relatives and an urgent need for improvement to address inequities in the assistance and services available to those caregivers. States are making exciting progress and investing in promoting supported placements with kinship caregivers. However, the analysis also shows that most financial assistance and services available for kinship caregivers are not based on need, but rather made available based on the caregiver placement type or category — licensed, unlicensed or informal/diverted. Caregivers who are able and willing to become licensed foster parents are most eligible for important resources. However, many kin who are willing — and who welcome the children placed in their homes by child welfare agencies — cannot meet the licensing requirements of their state or jurisdiction. In most states, they are not eligible for and do not receive types of financial assistance and support services that would benefit the children. Although many states have improved support for caregivers and reduced barriers to foster home licensing, more can be done. All children deserve the assistance, services and connections that ensure they will thrive, whether their caregiver is licensed or unlicensed.

Click here to download the full report.

Source: The Annie E. Casey Foundation


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