2. Develop written policies and protocols that prioritize the value of kin and recognize their unique circumstances

Children in kinship foster care deserve the same attention as children placed with non-kin. Agencies that truly value kin will align their policies to ensure that children in kinship foster care have tailored services and supports and equal opportunities for permanency as other children. Whenever possible, policies should reflect the intent to serve families with respect for race, ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation, and gender identity.  Well-drafted policies and protocols will streamline the process and make it easier to place children with kin.

  1. Develop or review/adapt current written policies to ensure they reflect a priority for placing children with kin and preserving connections with kin. Ensure policies are designed with the unique needs of kin in mind.
  2. Share draft policies and solicit feedback from multiple stakeholders, including kin and youth, before finalization.
  3. Policies should include:
    1. Emergency placement protocols
    2. Steps to identify, notify and engage kin throughout the child welfare continuum
    3. Procedures for partnering with American Indian/Alaska Native tribes and compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)
    4. Licensing and placement procedures with clear timelines and an appeal process
    5. National Association for Regulatory Administration (NARA) Model Family Foster Home Licensing Standards and model tribal foster care standards such as those developed by the National Indian Child Welfare Association, or other common sense foster home licensing standards
    6. A clear process for granting waivers and variances of licensing standards when appropriate
    7. Defined roles and expectations for all stakeholders, including agency staff, providers and family, for a team approach to helping families through the licensing process
    8. A range of permanency options for children with kin, including reunification with parents, adoption, tribal customary adoption, and guardianship
    9. Full disclosure to kin and parents on the range of permanency options and support associated with each
    10. Training targeted to kin and designed with their unique circumstances in mind
    11. Tailored services and supports for children living with kin


Click here to download the full wikiHow guide

Click here to download the full Kinship Promising Practices brief


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