Extending Home Visiting to Kinship Caregivers and Family, Friend, and Neighbor Caregivers

CLASP undertook this project to explore 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, our project 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, in order for parents to work, go to school, or pursue other educational and training opportunities. Both kinship caregivers and FFN caregivers play crucial roles in children’s development, although there are important distinctions between the groups. Home visiting, by promoting healthy development and connecting children and caregivers to resources, is a promising model for serving vulnerable children who are in kinship care and those with FFN caregivers.

CLASP interviewed representatives from major national home visiting models, as well as stakeholders and experts in the field at the local, state, and national levels. Interview questions focused on whether home visiting models served or had considered serving kinship This paper was made possible by a grant from the Birth to Five Policy Alliance. We are extremely grateful to all those who participated in interviews and shared information for this project: Erika Bantz, Juliet Bromer, Amanda Bryans, Jane Callahan, Kerry Caverly, Kate DeKonig, Clare Eldredge, Angie Godfrey, Nathalie Dozois Goodchild, Karen Guskin, Gayle Hart, Peggy Hill, Beth Jacob, Kay Johnson, Nancy Kehiayan, Kerry Littlewood, Lisa McCabe, Dru Osterud, Toni Porter, Nancy Shier, Maya Sullivan, John Schlitt, Sarah Walzer, Diana Webb, Cyd Wessel, Sue Williamson, and César Zuniga. We also wish to thank MaryLee Allen and Beth Davis-Pratt for their comments and feedback. Special thanks also go to our colleagues at CLASP who provided valuable feedback: Danielle Ewen, Director of Child Care and Early Education; Rachel Schumacher, Senior Fellow; and Hannah Matthews, Senior Policy Analyst. While we are grateful to the contributions of our reviewers, the authors are solely responsible for the content of this report. 2 caregivers and FFN caregivers. The project focused on programs serving young children and families between the prenatal period and kindergarten entry. CLASP 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.

This report—written by Elizabeth Hoffmann and Tiffany Conway Perrin—synthesizes our interview findings and presents detailed considerations for implementing home visiting with kinship caregivers and FFN caregivers, including matters of curriculum, staffing, and service referral. It also discusses several opportunities that home visiting models identified that have resulted or could result from serving kinship caregivers and FFN caregivers, including serving more vulnerable children, promoting continuity for children, and expanding research and evaluation. This synthesis draws on descriptions of program models and practices where appropriate; additionally, four promising initiatives are profiled. Based on these findings, CLASP developed a set of recommendations for states and the federal government.