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ERIC Number: ED475641
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2003-Apr
Pages: 8
Abstractor: N/A
When Child Welfare Agencies Rely on Voluntary Kinship Placements: New Federalism Issues and Options for States. An Urban Institute Program to Assess Changing Social Policies.
Malm, Karin; Geen, Rob
Summarizing findings from a forthcoming book, this policy brief examines when and how child welfare agencies rely on kin to care for children who are taken into state custody. The discussion is based on intensive case studies of local kinship care policies and practices; the case studies were conducted in 13 counties in Alabama, California, Connecticut, and Indiana. Findings revealed that the use of voluntary kinship care varied among counties, among offices within a county, and among individual workers. Agencies provided various types and levels of support to private kin caregivers seeking assistance from the child welfare agency. In California, Connecticut, and Indiana, as in most states, child welfare agencies used voluntary kinship care on a fairly limited basis, with few clear policies, procedures, or guidance on when and how workers should rely on voluntary kinship care. The result of this lack of policy was that kinship care could be used, intentionally or not, to influence birth parents and kin, especially in situations where there was substantiated child abuse/neglect. Alabama, like a handful of other states, used voluntary kinship care whenever possible. The brief highlights several issues regarding the child welfare agencies' role and responsibility when abused or neglected children are placed with kin, particularly that child welfare agencies must determine whether to treat kinship care as an extension of the biological family, or as a type of temporary substitute care. The brief asserts that additional research is needed that assesses the risk of different kinship care arrangements and helps guide child welfare agencies and staff in making decisions regarding their role and responsibility. (KB)
Urban Institute, 2100 M Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 202-833-7200; Fax: 202-293-1918; e-mail:; Web site: For full text:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Los Altos, CA.; Annie E. Casey Foundation, Baltimore, MD.; Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Princeton, NJ.; Kellogg Foundation, Battle Creek, MI.; John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Chicago, IL.; Ford Foundation, New York, NY.
Authoring Institution: Urban Inst., Washington, DC.