In the past 2 1/2 years, the state’s child-care agency has placed a greater percentage of children with relatives and others close to them rather than “non-kin” foster homes, the agency announced Tuesday.
The agency, the state Department of Children and Families, said the percentage placed with “kinship families” jumped from 21 percent in January 2011 to 29.8 percent July 2013.
The announcement notes that the expansion of “kinship care” required the additional $3 million in the state budget for the fiscal year that started July 1:
“We know that children in care do better when placed with someone they know either by family relation or other personal connection,” Commissioner Katz said. “But it is just as certain that kinship families need practical and effective support in stepping up for children at a very difficult time.”…
Research shows relative and kinship placements produce a variety of positive outcomes for children in care, including greater stability, more timely permanency and greater prospects for staying with siblings.
At the same time, the Department recognizes that kinship families have different and often greater needs than non-kin foster families. Commissioner Katz worked with the legislature to secure an additional $3 million for a broad array of support services for kinship families. It is anticipated these services will help ensure that children removed from families of origin for a short or extended period are able to remain within their kin network and continue critical family connections. Services will include assessments of needs, service planning, behavior management planning and parent education, respite and transportation as well as referral to other services offered through DCF. It is expected these added services will be available to kinship families as early as the fall of 2013.