Resources for Child Welfare Professionals

Having a pool of well-prepared and supported families makes it possible for you and your agency to provide placement stability and permanency for children and youth in foster care. Child welfare agencies start this relationship at the first point of contact and should focus on empowering caregivers and strengthening families throughout the life of the case. As caregivers improve their skills, their awareness and confidence grows, which results in improved outcomes for the children and youth in their care.

This section reflects the increased focus on relatives being considered first for placement either before or directly after a child enters foster care; provides information for child welfare workers on how to locate, recruit, and build the capacity of kinship caregivers who may be a placement option; and highlights evidence-based practice models other agencies are using with kin. These resources also provide additional information for child welfare workers on improving daily caseworker visits and overall engagement with youth as they work with their clientele as a whole.

Building the capacity of families

Kinship Navigator Programs: Summary and Analysis
Explains the history of kinship navigator programs and their effect on current child welfare practice.

The Kinship Diversion Debate: Policy and Practice Implications for Children, Families, and Child Welfare Agencies (PDF - 388 KB)
The Annie E. Casey Foundation (2013)
Discusses the role of government, community, and individual kinship caregivers in supporting children in the child welfare system.

What Is Family Group Decision Making?
University of Colorado Kempe Center
Provides guidelines, instructions, and references explaining family group decision making in child welfare.

Diligent Recruitment Navigator
National Resource Center for Diligent Recruitment at AdoptUSKids
Provides a tool to assist States and Tribes in developing comprehensive diligent recruitment programs.

ICPC Sending State Check Lists (PDF - 241 KB)
Outlines procedures relevant to any State sending a placement through the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) in order to assist child welfare professionals in complying with the guidance while moving children across State lines.

ICPC Receiving State Check Lists (PDF - 210 KB)
Outlines procedures relevant to any State receiving a placement through the ICPC in order to assist child welfare professionals in complying with the guidance while settling a child who has moved across State lines.

Revitalizing Recruitment and Retention of Foster Parents
New York State Office of Children and Family Services & Welfare Research, Inc.
Presents practical strategies to recruit and retain foster, adoptive, and kinship families. This resource was developed with funding from the Children's Bureau.

(Back to Top)

Developing and supporting children and families

Quality Matters: Improving Caseworker Contacts with Children, Youth, and Families
Capacity Building Center for States
Discusses strategies for creating effective working relationships between child welfare caseworkers, parents, resource parents, and youth in care.

Kinship Care: Traditions of Caring and Collaborative Model of Practice
Child Welfare League of America
Offers resources designed to facilitate the training and support of kinship caregivers.

Research Brief: A Qualitative Research Study of Kinship Diversion Practice (PDF - 239 KB)
Malm & Allen (2016)
Child Trends
Explores the benefits of placing children with relatives rather than with foster caregivers.

Support Matters: Lessons from the Field on Services for Adoptive, Foster and Kinship Care Families (PDF - 1,454 KB) 
AdoptUSKids (2015)
Discusses the importance of effectively evaluating the needs of foster and kinship caregivers and partnering with community-based organizations.

Working With Kinship Caregivers
Series Title Bulletins for Professionals
Child Welfare Information Gateway
Availability View
Download (PDF - 355KB)
Order (Free)
Year Published 2018
Helps child welfare professionals promote kinship care by providing kinship caregivers with information, referral, and support services to ensure the safety, permanency, and well-being of children in their care. Topics covered include the types and benefits of kinship care, training for caseworkers and caregivers, specific strategies for supporting kinship caregivers, and examples of successful State and local child welfare programs that provide services to kinship caregivers.

(Back to Top)

Toolkits, guides, and additional information

Kinship Process Mapping: A Guide to Improving Practice in Kinship Care (PDF - 660 KB)
The Annie E. Casey Foundation (2013)
Provides information onIdentifying and engaging extended family networks to care for children involved in the child welfare system.

Engaging Youth in Foster Care [Podcast]
Child Welfare Information Gateway (2016)
Presents a former foster youth's perspective on how caseworkers can engage and work with older youth and youth transitioning from care.

(Back to Top)