Leadership is a key ingredient to creating a kin fi rst culture. Leaders can promote the belief that children belong with family, ensure that resources, tools, and training are aligned with the underlying values of a kin fi rst culture, and hold all levels of the agency accountable for prioritizing placement with and connections to kin.
- Identify champions within the agency who have the authority to implement policies and promote practices that are consistent with a kin fi rst philosophy.
- Create the staffing structures needed to identify, engage and support kinship families.
- Advocate for a continuum of permanency options available to children in kinship care.
- Promote strategies that allow kin to support children, parents, and foster parents even if they are not placement options.
- Ensure agency staff and providers receive training on the value of kin, their unique needs, and how best to meet these needs.
- Develop benchmarks and continuously review data on children involved with the child welfare system who are living with kin, including children living with kin as an alternative to foster care. Analyze multiple data elements, including placement type, race, age, and gender, to understand the characteristics and experiences of children living with kin.
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