Kentucky Adoption Opportunities Project
Kentucky—Kentucky Adoption Opportunities Project
The Kentucky Adoption Opportunities Project (KAOP) was a collaboration of the State child welfare agency, the courts, and the county attorney's office in one urban and one rural county. (See the National Child Welfare Resource Center on Legal and Judicial Issues). KAOP sought to expedite permanency for high-risk children in foster care. These children were primarily younger children whose parents were coping with multiple risk factors, including substance abuse, mental illness, mental retardation, or family violence.
Strategies. KAOP implemented three permanency planning activities for high-risk children served in the project. These were (1) risk assessment and concurrent planning, (2) one child/one legal voice (a dedicated project attorney and guardian ad litem for each child), and (3) early placement in kinship or foster/adoptive homes.
Outcomes. In the urban county, the length of stay for children served by the project was 12 months, compared to 32 months for children in the general foster care population. In the rural region, the length of stay for children served by the project was 17 months, compared to 25 months for children in the general foster care population.
Lessons Learned. The final evaluation reported the following lessons learned: early, accurate assessments of parental and child needs were critical to identify relevant services; collaboration among treatment providers was important to ensure that each treatment plan complemented the others to facilitate success; dedicating one attorney to each case helped ensure continuity and seems to have had an impact on reducing lengths of stay; and early placement in kinship and foster/adoptive homes contributed to continuity for the children. The evaluation also reported that court delays continued to pose barriers to expediting permanency.
More Information on Model Programs for Youth Permanency
Read more about this and other model programs for youth permanency in Model Programs for Youth Permanency (PDF - 236 KB) by M.J. Louisell, from the California Partnership for Youth Project.