In Focus: Supporting Kinship Families
Feb 22, 2010 | Permalink »
Revised Guidance on Fostering Connections Kinship Guardianship Assistance Program Issued
On February 18, 2010, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) issued ACYF-CB-PI-10-01 to provide States and Tribes with revised instructions on implementing the Guardianship Assistance Program (GAP) option under the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 (Fostering Connections). This new Program Instruction allows States and Tribes that elect the GAP option to claim federal title IV-E support for children who had already exited foster care to kinship guardianship arrangements at the time the state or tribe elects the GAP option provided that the child and relative are both eligible and the kinship guardianship assistance agreement meets, or is amended to meet, all of the title IV-E requirements.
This new Program Instruction revises and supercedes ACYF-CB-PI-08-07, issued on December 24, 2008 which indicated that States or Tribes that took the GAP option would only be able to claim Title IV-E dollars for children who "exit foster care to a new guardianship arrangement on or after the first day of the quarter in which the approved title IV-E plan amendment was submitted to ACF."
A number of state and national stakeholders expressed concern that the December 24, 2008 interpretation was too narrow and would serve to deny federal kinship guardianship assistance to numerous children and families. As detailed in New Help for Children Raised by Grandparents and Other Relatives, there was broad consensus that Fostering Connections allowed for a child already moved from foster care to relative guardianship at the time the law passed to become eligible for federal assistance for guardianship payments made after the effective date of the law, but only if the guardianship agreement met all of the requirements of the law and the child and caregiver were otherwise eligible for the federal assistance. The new guidance is consistent with this interpretation and also makes clear that a pre-existing kinship guardianship assistance agreement can be amended to meet title IV-E requirements. This may be more difficult in some states than in others depending on how closely their prior kinship guardianship program requirements match the federal GAP requirements.
Dec 11, 2009 | Permalink »
Extending Home Visiting to FFN Caregivers and Kinship Caregivers
Home visiting may be an important support for vulnerable children and families that can improve outcomes, including healthy and safe development, family functioning, and school readiness.
A new paper from CLASP explores how home visiting can be responsive to the realities of children's daily lives when they spend significant time in the care of someone other than a parent. Specifically, CLASP focused on two populations of caregivers: kinship caregivers (i.e. grandparents and other relatives) who are raising related children when the child's parents are unable to do so and family, friend, and neighbor (FFN) caregivers who provide child care for children while parents work or go to school.
CLASP interviewed representatives from major national models of home visiting and other experts in the field. It found that all of the home visiting models interviewed serve children and their kinship caregivers (either by initiating services or continuing services when a child served by the program entered kinship care). The models also include FFN caregivers to varying extents, ranging from providing formal curricula for caregivers to allowing home visitors to include FFN caregivers at the family's request.
The full report, Extending Home Visiting to Kinship Caregivers and Family, Friend, and Neighbor Caregivers, includes detailed considerations for implementing home visiting with these caregivers, including matters of curricula, staffing, and service referral; discusses opportunities that result from serving these caregivers; and provides recommendations for states and the federal government.
Oct 05, 2009 | Permalink »
Kinship Navigator and Other Family Connection Grant Recipients Announced
On September 30, 2009, the Children's Bureau announced the recipients of the Family Connection Grants. 24 entities across the country will be provided with grants of up to $1 million for up to three years to implement a range of activities, including kinship navigator programs, that will promote family connections for children involved with or at risk of entering the child welfare system.
Family Connection Grants, authorized as part of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act, are competitive grants that will allow applicants to create or enhance programs that will connect children in or at risk of entering foster care to their families. State, local, and tribal child welfare agencies and non-profit agencies that have experience serving children in foster or kinship care can apply for the grants to establish or expand Kinship Navigators, Family Group Decision Making, Intensive Family Finding, or Residential Family-Based Substance Abuse Treatment programs. The new law guarantees $15 million for each fiscal year between 2009 and 2013 for these grants, including $5 million annually that is set aside for Kinship Navigator programs. The Secretary of Health and Human Services may allow up to 30 new grants each year, provided new funding is not already committed to existing grants. Individual grants may not be for less than one year or more than three years. For more information, see Chapter 3 of New Help for Children Raised by Grandparents and Other Relatives Questions and Answers About the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008.