2010 Jordan Institute
16, No. 1
An Innovative Approach to Supporting Kinship Caregivers
In 2008, Chatham County DSS began using a new practical, family-centered strategy to support its work with kinship families. The agency currently pays kinship families half the foster care board rate for six months, from the time they turn in an application for licensure with the intent to take MAPP until they are licensed within that six month period.
Chatham DSS plans to open this up to kinship providers who have an “undocumented” immigration status (i.e., they lack necessary documents for permission to live or work in the country). This expansion would enable these relatives to take MAPP, be assigned a licensing worker (to receive the same support that licensed homes receive), and receive half the foster care board payment until the family achieves reunification and/or permanence for the child.
Though payments of this kind are an additional “up-front” expense to the county, they allow children to remain in their home community. In the long term, this strategy may reduce costs by decreasing the need for out-of-county or private agency placements. In addition, by facilitating partnerships between caregivers and birth parents, agencies could ultimately reduce the time children spend in foster care.
Support for kinship caregivers is part of a larger foster parent recruitment effort in Chatham county, and may reduce or eliminate some key barriers to foster home licensing and permanency for children.
To learn more, contact Jamie Bazemore, Placement Services Supervisor, Chatham County DSS; (919) 642-6985; firstname.lastname@example.org.