Family connections that help children and youth thrive, provide identity, and tie them to their culture and traditions are necessary for the healthy development of every child. When children or youth are removed from their home, they should be placed with kin whenever possible. Use these resources to explore reasons for placing children with relatives or kin, considerations for kinship caregivers, and strategies for making decisions in the children's best interests. The resources include State and local examples.
The Child Welfare Placement Continuum: What's the Best for Children?
National Conference of State Legislatures (2019)
Discusses placement options for children who are removed from their homes and suggests children and youth should be placed in the least restrictive, most family-like environment possible.
Connect Our Kids
Points professionals to technology, including free software, to help identify and connect with extended family to support child stability and create broader networks for those in foster care.
Determining the Best Interests of the Child
Extreme Family Finding
Foster Adopt Connect
Highlights the Extreme Family Finding program, which works to find multiple family members and kin relationships for children most at risk of aging out of the foster care system without an adoption.
How Can We Ensure a Child’s First Placement Is With Family?
Casey Family Programs (2018)
Explains how child protection agencies have developed strategies to overcome barriers and secure stable placements with families.
How Can We Improve Placement Stability for Children in Foster Care?
Casey Family Programs (2018)
Discusses the importance of stability and the challenges that prevent it. The report highlights promising approaches to improve the decision-making process and promote placement stability.
Kinship Caregiving Options: Considerations for Caregivers (PDF - 4,547 KB)
American Bar Association, Center on Children and the Law, Children’s Defense Fund, & Generations United (2021)
Describes the different placement options available to kinship care families and some factors that potential kinship caregivers should consider when pursuing kin caregiving arrangements.
Placement of Children With Relatives
Transforming Child Welfare: Seeing Kinship Care Through a Radicalized, Cultural Context and Community-Centered Lens
Children’s Bureau Express, 21(8)
Proposes a model for supporting families involved with the child welfare system that includes a prioritization of kinship care as it is the best way to preserve a child’s culture and maintain family connections.
Chapter 10: Achieving Permanency Goal Custody Transfer to Relatives (PDF - 1,091 KB)
Virginia Department of Social Services (2018)
In Child and Family Services Manual
Provides a framework for Virginia social services agencies to guide decision-making regarding establishing permanency for youth in foster care by transferring custody to a relative.
Kinship Care in Pennsylvania: Creating an Equitable System for Families
Pennsylvania Partners for Children (2021)
Shares recommendations for ensuring that when children or youth are removed from their homes, they remain with kin to reduce the trauma of separation and ensure continued connections with family.
Placement Process Resource Guide (PDF - 777 KB)
Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (2022)
Shares guidance and recommendations for child welfare professionals in Texas making placement decisions for children, including placements with kinship caregivers.
Prioritize Placement With Family Members and Other Family Connections
Children Need Amazing Parents
Describes priorities for children to be placed with kin or other close family connections to minimize trauma and promote placement stability. The resource highlights successful kinship policies and gives examples from Tennessee; Washington, DC; Nebraska; Pennsylvania; and the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe in Washington State.