Child Welfare Services
When placing a child into a new home, a children's placement agency's priority is placement stability. They want to make sure that the children will have the chance at a stable home, with foster parents and guardians that can continue caring for them long term. This is why placement with Kinship is always considered first, and if that cannot happen, then ongoing support to foster parents is a must.
Placement with Kinship
- Placement with Kinship means placing the child with a relative and someone that they know before placing them in foster care.
- Placing Kinship is considered a best practice because it prevents attachment, emotional, and behavioral disorders from being more prominent.
- Kinship Placement prevents placement instability by allowing the child to remain in the home of their relative until reunification or for the remainder of their time in state custody.
- Colorado State University created the ARCH study, aka Applied Research in Child Welfare project. The ARCH study concluded that children placed in the home of kinship care are three times less likely to experience three to four more placement settings. Kinship placement is the most stable when it comes to placing the children in a new home.
- According to CASCW, "For cases with longer lengths of stay, children in kinship care experience fewer moves as 84% have two or fewer placements compared with 52% of children in foster care."
Providing Ongoing Support for Foster Parents
- Providing ongoing support for foster parents include financial assistance, therapy services, and help work with the birth parents.
- This is a best practice because it helps the foster parents to have the tools they need to provide the best chance of placement stability.
- When a child is placed in a foster home, most foster parents will have to build a relationship with the children. This can make it difficult for both the foster parents and the child in the beginning. Having the right tools to promote a relationship is crucial so that the child and foster parents can make things work.
- In a 2004 study by Holland, Gorey, and James, "The most frequently cited reason for a failed foster placement is the inability of foster parents to manage children's behavior problems."
- Foster parents need the tools to help equip them to support and handle the children with behavioral issues properly. Ongoing training for foster parents makes them more likely to continue foster parenting of the same children and more afterward.
- Studies show that providing the proper tools for the foster parents to help the children also prevents the child from becoming an at-risk youth, and they are less likely to end up in jail at some time in their lives.
- KEEP (Keeping foster parents supported and trained) has taken the initial training and support program and adapted it to prevent the disruption of placement. It is a 16-week group-based intervention that helps teach foster parents how to use non-harsh discipline methods as an approach of positive reinforcement. Two random controlled studies provided results that showed a more likelihood of placement stability.
To locate the best practices, we used multiple resources, starting with the CASCW website, NCBI, other supportive websites and scholarly research. Once we determined the best practices, we moved forward in locating why they are considered the best practices and gathered the information throughout the websites.