Policies on Prioritizing Kinship Placements & Other Family Connections

Prioritizing Kinship Placements & Other Family Connections  graphic

New Jersey's Siblings in Best Settings (SIBS)

New Jersey established the goal that 80 percent of sibling groups will be placed together. Its foster parent diligent recruitment plan features an initiative called Siblings in Best Settings (SIBS), aimed at increasing capacity for sibling groups through enhanced board rates and retainer fees for vacant beds. The state is also working to increase placement of adolescents in kin care by 30 percent and to increase non-kin capacity for adolescents by 15 percent.

See New Jersey's diligent recruitment plan for more information.

Safe reduction of children in congregate care

New Jersey achieved a 45 percent reduction in the use of congregate care from 2009 to 2016. The significant decrease has not been the result of a single program or policy. Rather, the approach has been multifaceted and iterative and include strategies such as: 

    • Case practice model
    • Prioritizing relatives, family friends, and communities
    • Matching and preparation of children and families
    • Resource family recruitment
    • Resource family support and retention
See strategy brief by Casey Familly Programs for more information.

Pennsylvania Statute on Familiy Finding at First Contact

In 2013, the Pennsylvania General Assembly enacted H.B. 1075, which included a requirement that family finding be conducted for a child when the child is accepted for service and at least annually thereafter. “Accepted for service” is defined as a decision to admit or receive an individual as a client of the county agency or as required by court order. Workers are now expected to be fully invested in finding and maintaining children’s important family connections.

See playbook for more information.

Tennessee Kinship Firewall policy

Tennessee has a kinship exception request protocol, which requires management-level approval for any non-kin placement when, after a diligent search, relatives who meet agency standards cannot be located or are unavailable. Connecticut and Denver County, Colorado have similar policies. Connecticut requires its kinship specialists to use a checklist to ensure that caseworkers have made very attempt to locate maternal and paternal relatives.

See playbook for more information.

Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe Definition of Extended Family

Recruitment and retention of relative foster families are key elements of the Port Gamble S’Klallam foster care program. The term “extended family” is defined broadly in policy to include family ties that are based on bloodlines, marriage, friendship and caring. All women in the community become “auntie” or “grandma” when they reach a certain age, regardless of blood relationship. In fact, any member of the tribe who is reliable, responsible, loving and willing to care for a child may be considered extended family. In order to encourage kin to serve as foster parents, the tribe developed a simplified licensure process that provides families with specific, easily understood information accompanied by support services.

See playbook for more information.