National and NARA Model Licensing Standards Resources

February 28, 2019 Generations United Webinar - Improving State and Tribal Foster Family Home Licensing Standards: 

Complying with the Family First Prevention Services Act’s Licensing Requirements

Webinar on how and why to comply with mandatory March 31st Family First Act licensing requirements, and the important role grandfamilies’ advocates play in that process.  The webinar explores the new national model foster family home licensing standards released by the Children’s Bureau on February 4th, the National Association for Regulatory Administration (NARA) model family foster home licensing standards on which the Children Bureau “relied heavily,” and the specific reporting requirements for states and tribes.


This is our collective chance to eliminate unnecessary licensing barriers so more relatives caring for children in foster care can become licensed and receive ongoing monthly financial assistance, supports, and pathways to exit the system with monthly assistance.  These model standards address all foster family homes, so addressing unnecessary obstacles will facilitate the licensing of more non-relative foster family homes as well.  Cultural considerations for tribes are explored on the webinar, as well as specialized standards for family-based treatment foster care.


National Model Family Foster Home Licensing Standards, ACYF-CB-IM-19-01

On February 4, 2019, the Children’s Bureau released final National Model Family Foster Home Licensing Standards (National Model), as required by the Family First Prevention Services Act.  The Children’s Bureau used the NARA Model Family Foster Home Licensing Standards (NARA Model) as the “main source” for its proposed National Model, and then accorded it “considerable deference” in deciding whether to modify the proposed National Model. 


FAQ on the National Model Foster Family Home Licensing Standards

Generations United prepared 10 questions and answers concerning this new Model, the NARA Model on which it "relied heavily" and Family First Act reporting requirements (2019). 


NARA Model Family Foster Home Licensing Standards

Generations United, The ABA Center on Children and the Law  and The Annie E. Casey Foundation, joined forces with the National Association for Regulatory Administration (NARA) to create the first set of comprehensive Model Family Foster Home Licensing Standards. Originally published in 2014, last updated in 2018.  


Crosswalk Tool

Editable version of the crosswalk tool developed to allow states  and tribes to compare their current foster care licensing standards with the National Model Family Foster Home Licensing Standards  and the NARA Model Licensing Standards.  Updated 2019.


Summary of Submitted Comments on Proposed Licensing Standards

Summary of over the  1,000 submitted comments  on the proposed Model National Family Foster Home Licensing Standards as required by the Family First Prevention Services Act. 


Considerations for Federal Register Comments on proposed Model National Family Foster Home Licensing Standards

The proposed Model National Family Foster Home Licensing Standards are a requirement of the Family First Prevention Services Act. This resource was developed jointly by National Association for Regulatory Administration (NARA), Generations United & American Bar Association (ABA) Center on Children and the Law to assist those who wish to comment on these proposed standards (September 2018).


The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute

In Powerful Voices: Sharing Our Stories to Reform Child Welfare, in 2016, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute recommended that Congress adopt the Criminal History Records Check Standards of the Model Family Foster Home Licensing Standards. See pages 5-8.  


"Model Home Licensing Standards Would Facilitate Safe and Appropriate Placements"

Article in Spring 2015, Adopt Talk.  

"New Model Family Foster Home Licensing Standards"

Article in January/February 2015, Fostering Families Today


Improving Foster Care Licensing Standards around the United States: Using Research Findings to Effect Change

Summary and analysis of foster care licensing standards in all states and the impact of such standards on relatives seeking licensure, from Generations United, ABA Center on Children and the Law, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation (2013).


General Licensing Resources

National Training and Development Curriculum for Foster and Adoptive Families

Online training curriculm for all resource families, with content for kinship families included. Funded through a five-year cooperative agreement with Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children’s Bureau. (2021)


Children's Bureau Information Memorandum (ACYF-CB-IM-20-03)

Informs Title IV-E agencies on how to use CCWIS, non-CCWIS information systems, websites, and applications to recruitment, approval and retention of foster homes. The IM focuses on foster family homes, kinship homes and pre-adoptive homes. February 10, 2020.


Foster and Kinship Parent Recruitment and Support Best Practice Inventory

This best practice guide for foster and kinship parent recruitment, produced by ChildFocus and the Redlich Horwitz Foundation, was developed to provide counties and provider agencies with new ideas and proven tools to improve their retention and support practices for foster parents (2017).


Immigrant Caregivers: The Implications of Immigration Status on Foster Care Licensure 

This fact sheet reviews state licensing standards related to immigrant caregivers serving as placement resources for children in the child welfare system.  Summary of fact sheet also available here (2017).


D.O. vs. Glisson Summary

Summary and implications of a Kentucky case sent to the U.S. Supreme Court.  Since the Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal, the earlier ruling from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stands. The court ruled that the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services must pay relatives who take in foster children even if not fully licensed (2017).


Placing Children with Relatives: The Case for a Clear Rationale  for a Seperate Foster Care Licensing Standards, Background Check Procedures, and Improved Relative Placement Statues in Alaska

Law review article by Courtney Lewis on how Alaska could improve outcomes for families, including adopting the Model Family Foster Home Licensing Standards and revising the state relative placement laws (2017). 


California Resource Family Approval Toolkit

The Alliance for Children’s Rights, the Step Up Coalition, and a wide range of state and local partners created a Resource Family Approval Toolkit  designed to help walk  California caregivers through the newly implemented Resource Family Approval process (2017). 


Development and Implementation of Tribal Foster Care Standards

Booklet developed by NICWA to assist with the process through which tribes can develop locally appropriate standards. It is based on the premise that foster care standards are most useful when they are developed by the Indian community in which they will be used and when a broad segment of that community participates in the development and implementation process (2000).


Identifying and Verifying the Safe Foster Home: A Study and Assessment Method

Action for Children’s foster home assessment tool to be used to assess potential foster family homes. 


Live Scan Fingerprinting Technology:  A Primer for Child Welfare Agencies 

This ChildFocus primer for child welfare agencies gives practical information on how to obtain and implement live scan technology (2016).


Obtain a Child Abuse and Neglect Central Registry Check in Each State

Contains the state contact for child abuse and neglect checks.


Program Standards for Treatment Foster Care 

These standards developed by the Foster Family-based Treatment Association, are designed to assist agencies in the development of quality Treatment Foster Care services for children, youth, and families. (2013)

Report to Congress on States' Use of Waivers of Non-Safety Licensing Standards for Relative Foster Family Homes

Children’s Bureau, Administration on Children, Youth and Families report to Congress on children placed in relative foster family homes and the use of licensing waivers (2011)


Relative Foster Care Licensing Waivers in the States: Policies and Possibilities

Summary of state waivers and variances. ABA and CLASP (2010)

State Kinship Foster Care Licensing and Payment Policies
Compares foster care licensing and payment policies by state, from Urban Institute (2003).

General Foster Care Resources

Video Training Series: “Engaging Kinship Caregivers: Managing Risk Factors in Kinship Care” 

The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s recently released a five-part video training series, featuring internationally respected kinship care expert, Dr. Joseph Crumbley, to strengthen the skills of child welfare professionals in supporting families to improve outcomes for children. The video training series includes a discussion guide to help program directors, supervisors and trainers lead group sessions to deepen the learning experience.


Promoting Permanency for Teens: A 50 State Review of Law and Policy

National Center for Youth Law 50-state permanency policy analysis. This brief explores the diversity of state policies and practices aimed at supporting teens’ need for a permanent connection to a family. Recommendations are aimed at helping child welfare agencies use a variety of strategies to achieve permanency for teens, with an emphasis on the use of kinship families.

This Annie E. Casey Report identifies three major themes for engaging and empowering foster parents: ensuring quality caregiving for children; forging strong relationships; and, finding and keeping more amazing caregivers (2016).
The Continuing Evolution of State Kinship Care Policies
Presents the findings of a 2001 survey of state relative foster care policies, from Urban Institute (2002). 

Every Kid Needs A Family

This Annie E. Casey Foundation KIDS COUNT policy report underscores a simple fact about childhood: Family matters. Yet, today in America, 57,000 children are still living in group placements. Readers will learn about limiting the role of residential treatment care to its intended purpose and how state and local leaders can work together to enhance family-oriented services and supports (2015). 


Judicial Tip Sheet:  Kin First

A one page tip sheet for judges on considerations in cases involving kin, from the ABA Center on Children and the Law, Annie E. Casey Foundation, and NCJFCJ (2016). 


Kinship Diversion Debate

This report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation explores the practice of "kinship diversion" in which children are placed with relatives as an alternative to foster care.  Different perspectives about whether kinship diversion is a good or bad practice are offered.  The report concludes that child welfare agencies should more thoroughly explore their kinship diversion practices to ensure they adequately meet the needs of children, their parents and kinship caregivers (2013).


Kinship Process Mapping

Kinship Process Mapping (KPM) is a form of analysis adapted from business to help child welfare agencies increase their efficiency and effectiveness in working with kinship families. This Annie E. Casey Foundation guide provides a step-by-step process to help agencies prepare for KPM, facilitate KPM sessions, analyze results and develop solutions. The Guide also includes kinship process templates that can be tailored to the unique needs and issues confronting public child welfare systems (2013).


Meth and Child Welfare: Promising Solutions for Children, Their Parents and Grandparents
Provides a comprehensive set of recommendations to improve the child welfare system’s ability to combat the impact of meth and many of the other serious issues facing children and their families, from Generations United (2006).


State Kinship Care Policies for Children that Come to the Attention of Child Welfare Agencies: Findings from the 2007 Casey Kinship Foster Care Policy Survey
Summarizes key findings from the most recent survey of states’ kinship care policies. This study looks at the implications of states increasing their use of relatives to care for abused and neglected children to avoid having to take children into custody, from Child Trends (2008).

TANF and Child Welfare Programs: Increased Data Sharing Could Improve Access to Benefits and Services
US Government Accountability Office (GAO) study, (2011).


Time for Reform, Support Relatives in Providing Foster Care and Permanent Families for Children
Presents the latest findings on the impact of relative care for children in foster care, describes the role of relatives as permanent families for the children in their care, and offers cost-effective ways to support relatives as caregivers through federal policy, from Kids Are Waiting and Generations United (2007). 



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