A new draft rule proposes allowing child welfare systems to have a kin-specific process for approving kin. If it’s finalized, systems will be able to create new, streamlined processes for providing kin with Foster Care Maintenance Payments that are eligible for Title IV-E reimbursement.
A state’s new process needs to be “reasonably in accord with recommended standards of national organizations concerned with standards for [foster family] homes, including standards related to admission policies, safety, sanitation, and protection of civil rights.”
We are proposing Standards for Kinship Caregivers that can serve as these “recommended standards of national organizations,” similar to how the Model Foster Home Licensing Standards served as the recommended standards for the previous combined (kin and non-kin) process.
The goal of these Standards for Kinship Caregivers is for every kinship caregiver to be qualified for Foster Care Maintenance Payments from the date the kinship child is placed.
We are co-designing these standards with a diverse array of kinship caregivers from around the country, and are seeking as much input from states and child welfare workers as possible, too. This can ultimately enable greater permanency and well-being for many children and families.
The recommended standards will be for state agencies, and not be designed specifically for tribal nations that license kinship caregivers. We recognize the great diversity in Indian Country with 574 federally-recognized tribal nations and the sovereign authority of tribal nations to develop their own licensing standards. The recommended standards are however intended to provide examples of how state agencies can improve their kinship care licensing standards as they apply to a diverse group of children and families under their jurisdiction.