Kinship Care Standards
The following resources discuss standards for kinship care programs as well as licensing standards for kinship caregivers. Resources include State and local examples.
Kinship Care Guides and Manuals
State Guides and Manuals
Links to State publications on kinship care program standards.
Commitment to Kin: Elements of a Support and Service System for Kinship Care
Casey Family Programs (2004)
Presents a guide for the development, implementation, and evaluation of policies, programs, practices, services, and supports for kinship families. The report includes 10 guiding principles, 20 components of an optimal service delivery system, a glossary of terms, and more.
CWLA Standards of Excellence for Kinship Care Services
Child Welfare League of America (1999)
Addresses critical policy and practice issues, such as providing supports and services for children, kinship caregivers, and parents; assessing, monitoring, and supervising kinship homes; and planning for permanency for children in kinship care.
Family Connections Intervention Manual: Helping Families Meet the Basic Needs of Their Children
University of Maryland School of Social Work (2003, 4th ed.)
View Abstract and Document
Provides information on the theoretical base of the program, guiding principles, outreach strategies and intake processes, methods for developing helping alliances with families, family assessment, service planning, ongoing intervention and evaluation, service facilitation and community resources, and procedures for documentation. Appendices include assessment materials and forms.
Kinship Care: An Issue for International Standards (PDF - 163 KB)
UNICEF & International Social Service (2004)
Defines kinship care, discusses its advantages and limitations, and addresses formal and informal kinship care, child-headed households, and cross-border manifestations of kinship care. The paper closes with issues that should be taken into account when devising international kinship care standards.
Kinship Care Services Accreditation Standards
Council on Accreditation (2006)
Presents accreditation standards for kinship care services. The standards address numerous areas such as access to services, screening and assessment, service planning and monitoring, permanency, and caregiver support.
Relative Foster Care Licensing Waivers in the States: Policies and Possibilities (PDF - 172 KB)
CLASP & American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law (2010)
Reviews Title IV-E reimbursement for relative foster homes and information on waivers of foster home licensing standards, as well as recommends licensing standards that can help further the goal of maintaining family connections for children in foster care.
Ten Steps Public Child Welfare Agencies Can Take to Support Children in Safe and Stable Kinship Families (PDF - 94 KB)
Recommends actions such as developing family finding protocols, assessing relative homes in a timely manner, developing standardized process to waive licensing requirements, improving financial assistance for relative caregivers, establishing cross-system partnerships, and more.
State and local examples
Certification Standards for Foster Care, Relative Care, and Pre-Adoptive Families (PDF - 1243 KB)
Oregon Department of Human Services (2010)
Describes personal qualifications, standards regarding the home environment, requirements for the care of children and youth, education and training, and more.
Practice Guide for Locating and Involving Non-Custodial Parents, Alleged Fathers, and Relatives (PDF - 96 KB)
Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services (2007)
Provides minimum standards, guidance, and tools to assist agencies identify, locate, and involve noncustodial parents, alleged fathers, and relatives as resources for children, especially children who have been removed from their homes.
Preservice: Foster and Kinship Care and Adoption Competencies (PDF - 128 KB)
Ohio Child Welfare Training Program, Institute for Human Services (2008)
Lists preservice training competencies and skill sets for understanding foster and kinship care. The competencies address laws and policies; the caregiver's role in the child protection team and working with primary families; the effects of maltreatment on child development; attachment, separation; behavioral interventions; promoting placement stability; cultural diversity; and permanency.