Kinship Supports Intervention
About This Program
Target Population: Kinship caregivers (relatives and fictive kin) of children involved in child welfare systems (children aged 0 to 18), regardless of custody status or supervision orders
For parents/caregivers of children ages: 0 – 18
The purpose of the Kinship Supports Intervention is to ensure that kinship caregivers have the support they need to meet children's physical, emotional, financial, and basic needs. The intervention helps kinship caregivers, including relatives and fictive kin, navigate the child welfare system and connect them to federal, state, and local resources to support the children in their care. Through the intervention, Kinship Coordinators or other designated child welfare kinship staff complete several tools for each kinship family, including a home assessment that evaluates the caregiver's ability and willingness to ensure the safety, permanency, and well-being of children placed in their care, and a needs assessment that identifies services and supports the caregiver's needs. A caregiver support plan is developed in accordance with the needs assessment, and the needs assessment is updated on a quarterly basis to ensure that services and supports continue to address changes in the family's needs over time.
The goals of Kinship Supports Intervention are:
- Prevent placement into foster care
- Increase use of kinship care, if formal placement is necessary
- Increase kinship caregiver's knowledge of federal, state, and local resources
- Increase placement stability
- Decrease time to permanency
- Maintain child safety
- Decrease re-entry into foster care
View the Logic Model for Kinship Supports Intervention.
The essential components of Kinship Supports Intervention include:
- A Kinship Coordinator, with knowledge regarding best practices in supporting kinship families, serves as an expert resource on kinship support practice within the child welfare agency.
- All Kinship Coordinators, or other designated kinship staff, should be trained through the self-directed Ohio Child Welfare Training Program, Kinship Support Intervention for foundational understanding and knowledge of providing assessment and support to kin caregivers.
- All Kinship Coordinators/staff should attend regular ongoing training to enhance their knowledge and understanding of kinship caregiver issues, concerns, and needs.
- Kinship-specific assessment tools and processes are used to ensure that kinship caregivers can support the child in their care, and that the services and supports they receive are aligned with their needs:
- A Kinship Home Assessment Tool is completed by the Kinship Coordinator/staff as part of the home study, or no later than 30 days after a child is placed. The goal of the kinship home assessment is to document safety needs/concerns, the ability and willingness of the kinship caregiver to provide permanence for the child, and identification of the needs to be met in order for the kinship caregiver to provide for the child. The questions in the assessment are designed to spark discussion with the kinship caregiver and ensure that vital topics are covered (e.g., history of kinship caregiver interaction with and current knowledge of child/family situation).
- A Needs Assessment, which identifies services and supports the caregiver needs as well as the strengths and resources of the kinship family, is completed by Kinship Caregiver with Kinship Coordinator/staff assistance as necessary, no later than 30 days after a child is placed and is updated, at a minimum, every 90 days thereafter to continue to assess and review kinship caregivers' needs for services and/or assistance to maintain safe and adequate care of the child(ren).
- A Support Plan is developed in accordance with the Kinship Home Assessment Tool and Needs Assessment results. This plan should be individualized and reviewed and updated regularly (every 90 days, in conjunction with the review of the Needs Assessment). The Support Plan can be incorporated into the case plan or completed as a separate document according to legal protocol and policy within the jurisdiction. It will be subject to ongoing assessment and review to ensure it is addressing the kinship caregiver(s)' needs to maintain the child(ren) safely in the kinship home. Support Plan content is to address financial assistance, information and referral for services, and training needed by the kinship caregiver(s). A Support Plan template is included in the manual.
- Home visits with kinship families occur at least monthly and include attention to the kinship caregiver as well as the child and other family members. The manual provides detailed information on kinship caregiver home visits.
- A Kinship Handbook is provided to the kinship caregiver when the child is moved to the kinship home, or at the time of the home study. The handbook should include information that outlines the services and supports available in a given community. Additional state and federal guides detailing state and federal supports, as well as general information on what kinship care entails should also be provided prior to or at the time a child is placed.
- Services are available to support kinship families in accordance with their needs. Services and supports may be provided directly by the child welfare agency, through contracted service providers, or via referral to a community provider. Core services that kinship families may need during a kinship placement include:
- Kinship caregiver/foster care training
- Financial support
- Housing assistance
- Home management
- Basic hard good purchases
- Legal services
- Child care
- Formal or informal respite
- In-home family services/family preservation
- Information & referral
- Mental health assessment
- Substance abuse assessment
- Mental health and/or substance abuse therapy/counseling
Kinship Supports Intervention directly provides services to parents/caregivers and addresses the following:
- Relatives and fictive kin who become kinship caregivers due to the children's parents being unable to do so; may experience lack of readiness to take on the care of children and lack of knowledge of the community resources available to them.
Home Assessment - 30 minutes average time to complete: completed at the time the home study is completed or no later than 30 days after the child is placed. Needs Assessment 30 minutes average time to complete initially: completed at the time the home study is completed or no later than 30 days after the child is placed and, completed every 90 days/quarterly - 15 minutes average time to complete quarterly update. Support Plan, 1-hour average time to complete. Home visit: 45 minutes to 1-hour average time to complete: completed monthly. Information & Referral, informal support, time to complete depends on caregiver needs, completed on an as needed basis.
Kinship Supports services should continue to be provided throughout the duration of a child's kinship placement but will end if the child is adopted by the kinship caregiver.
This program is typically conducted in a(n):
- Foster / Kinship Care
- Public Child Welfare Agency (Dept. of Social Services, etc.)
This program does not include a homework component.
Resources Needed to Run Program
The typical resources for implementing the program are:
- Office space
- Access to phones
- Internet access
- Access to vehicle
- List of community resources for financial assistance and service delivery
Manuals and Training
Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications
There is no minimum educational level completion required in order to be trained as a kinship coordinator or staff member. All kinship coordinators/staff should be trained through the self-directed Ohio Child Welfare Training Program, Kinship Support Intervention for foundational understanding and knowledge of providing assessment and support to kinship caregivers. Furthermore, this training must be required to provide knowledge about the assessment tools, their use, and the importance of not only the monthly home visit, but what should be discussed during the monthly home visit to provide the best support possible to the kinship caregivers. Additionally, kinship coordinators/staff should attend regular training to enhance their knowledge and understanding of kinship caregiver issues, concerns, and needs. Lastly, all coordinators/staff should have a good working knowledge of child welfare practices and be competent in the following components:
- Ability to engage families to elicit, gather, evaluate, analyze, and integrate pertinent information to determine a kinship family's capacity to meet safety and quality of care needs for the child; determine strengths, concerns, and support needs
- Ability to serve as a liaison between the child welfare agency and community when organizing and accessing services and information for kinship families
- Ability to interact and collaborate with various and diverse families, internal staff, and community partners
- Ability to respect culture and diversity of families; to engage and to support kinship caregivers and children; to promote placement stability and positive permanency outcomes
- Ability to provide education and advocacy on behalf of kinship families
- Strong empathy and understanding of the unique role, needs, and challenges of kinship caregivers
- Have knowledge of service providers in their geographic area and maintain knowledge of available resources, ability to find ways to streamline services and reduce lag time in service provisions
- Have knowledge of relevant kinship caregiving resources and referral contacts in agencies outside their counties, since kinship caregivers may live outside the county
There is a manual that describes how to deliver this program.
ProtectOHIO. (2011). Practice Manual for ProtectOHIO Kinship Intervention. http://jfs.ohio.gov/PFOF/PDF/ProtectOHIO-Kinship-Intervention-Manual.stm
Access to the manual is available online: http://jfs.ohio.gov/PFOF/PDF/ProtectOHIO-Kinship-Intervention-Manual.stm
There is training available for this program.
- Patricia Wilson
phone: (614) 752-1142
Training for Ohio child welfare agencies is provided through the Ohio Child Welfare Training Program and is a self-directed course that consists of three components: a workbook for caseworkers/staff, a supervisor companion guide and seven online modules/presentations. Online presentations are:
- Module #1: Overview of ProtectOHIO
- Module #2: Kinship Intervention Overview
- Module #3: Enhancing the Kinship Support Intervention
- Module #4: Kinship Caregiver Home Assessment
- Module #5: Needs Assessment
- Module #6: Home Visits and Support Services
- Module #7: SACWIS
For agencies in other states, Ohio will provide training materials:
- Kinship Supports Intervention manual
- Caseworker/staff/coordinator manual
- Supervisor companion guide
- Online training modules available to other interested states/agencies and/or other states/agencies could contract for a trainer to complete the training
States/agencies would need to access the training materials and then modify them to ensure information on resources specific to their state/agency/community are included.
Number of days/hours:
The average time to complete the Ohio Child Welfare Training Program coordinator/staff training is 5.5 hours but it is a self-directed course so the time it takes to complete may vary. This does not include discussion time between Kinship Coordinator/staff and their supervisor to review information learned and intervention application.
The time it would take another stateâ€™s child welfare agency to modify and set up a training program of their own would be dependent on the resources available to that agency.
There are no pre-implementation materials to measure organizational or provider readiness for Kinship Supports Intervention.
Formal Support for Implementation
There is formal support available for implementation of Kinship Supports Intervention as listed below:
The Human Services Research Institute is available to provide formal support, including implementation supports/technical assistance; fidelity monitoring; Kinship Supports Intervention database development; and evaluation services (i.e., process, outcome, and/or cost studies). Supports are available via site visits, teleconferencing/Zoom, or email depending on the programmatic needs. Contact: Cailin B. Wheeler, MPA, email@example.com
There are fidelity measures for Kinship Supports Intervention as listed below:
- The Kinship Home Assessment Part 1 and Part 2 must be completed at the time of the home study, but no later than 30 days after the child is placed in the kinship home. (This is the initial phase of model implementation.)
- Family Resource Scale Needs Assessment (FRS) must be completed by the kinship caregiver(s) at the time of the home study, but no later than 30 days after the child is placed in the kinship home.
- The FRS must be updated every 90 days throughout the duration of the child's kinship placement. (It is critical the Coordinator initially has the kinship caregiver(s) complete the FRS to assist in the development of a Support Plan) Then the FRS is to be reviewed/revisited every 90 days to continue assessment of kinship caregiver needs ongoingly.
- Support Plan development to be reviewed monthly with kinship caregiver(s).
- Monthly contact is a fidelity measure to ensure responsiveness to identified kinship caregiver/child needs as best practice.
The Family Resource Scale is available for purchase: https://www.wbpress.com/product-category/assessment-scales-and-instruments/
The Home Assessment Part 1 and Part 2, Support Plan Template, and Kinship Home Visit Checklist can be found in the Kinship Supports Practice Manual: Appendix B, D, and E: https://jfs.ohio.gov/PFOF/PDF/ProtectOHIO-Kinship-Intervention-Manual.stm
For more information on calculating case- or site-level fidelity contact Cailin B. Wheeler, MPA Research Associate, Human Services Research Institute: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Family Resource Scale has been tested for reliability and validity:
Dunst, C. J., & Leet, H. E. (1987). Measuring the adequacy of resources in households with young children. Child: Care, Health and Development, 13(2), 111–125. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2214.1987.tb00528.x
Implementation Guides or Manuals
There are implementation guides or manuals for Kinship Supports Intervention as listed below:
The Practice Manual for ProtectOHIO Kinship Intervention provides an overview of all aspects associated with the implementation of the Kinship Supports Intervention, including:
- Mission & purpose
- Core components
- Kinship coordinator duties, skills, and training needs
- Case management activities/instructions
- Core and optional services & supports
- Necessary administrative supports and organizational structure
- Court and community support
- Data collection
Link to the manual: http://jfs.ohio.gov/PFOF/PDF/ProtectOHIO-Kinship-Intervention-Manual.stm
There have been studies of the costs of implementing Kinship Supports Intervention which are listed below:
Wheeler, C. B. (2020). ProtectOHIO final evaluation report, pp. 70–92. Human Services Research Institute. https://jfs.ohio.gov/ocf/ProtectOHIO-FourthWaiverPeriod-FinalEvaluationReport%E2%80%93June2020.stm
Research on How to Implement the Program
Research has been conducted on how to implement Kinship Supports Intervention as listed below:
Wheeler, C. B. (2016). ProtectOHIO final evaluation report, pp. 151–154, 211–215. Human Services Research Institute. https://www.hsri.org/publication/final-evaluation-report-protectohio-third-waiver-period
Wheeler, C. B. (2020). ProtectOHIO final evaluation report, pp. 51–69. Human Services Research Institute. https://jfs.ohio.gov/ocf/ProtectOHIO-FourthWaiverPeriod-FinalEvaluationReport%E2%80%93June2020.stm
Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research
Wheeler, C., & Vollet, J. W. (2017). Supporting kinship caregivers: Examining the impact of a Title IV-E waiver kinship supports intervention. Child Welfare, 95(4), 91–110. https://www.jstor.org/stable/48623589
Type of Study:
Quasi-experimental design with propensity score matching
Number of Participants: 8,715 children
- Age — Not specified
- Race/Ethnicity — Not specified
- Gender — Not specified
- Status — Participants were kinship caregivers and the children in their care in 32 counties.
(To include basic study design, measures, results, and notable limitations)
This study examined the impact of the Kinship Supports Intervention implemented in 16 children services agencies in Ohio. Two sets of analyses were conducted, each comparing the Kinship Supports Intervention group to one of two separate comparison groups: 1) children placed in nonrelative foster care in 16 comparison counties or 2) children placed with unlicensed kin in 16 comparison counties which did not implement the Kinship Supports Intervention. Measures included re-reports of child maltreatment during and after placement, placement stability, time in placement, re-entry into out-of-home care, and exit type, all based on administrative data from the child welfare system. Children who received Kinship Supports Intervention services experienced greater stability, reached permanency more quickly, and were less likely to experience subsequent maltreatment or re-enter care than children placed in nonrelative foster care. Furthermore, children receiving Kinship Supports Intervention services experienced shorter and more stable placements than children placed with kin in comparison counties. Limitations include the lack of randomization, county-level differences in data collection, and concerns about generalizability to other states.
Length of controlled postintervention follow-up: Varied — 18 months for re-reports, 12 months for re-entry.
Human Services Research Institute. (2016). Kinship Supports evaluation brief. https://www.hsri.org/publication/protectohio-kinship-supports-evaluation-brief-2016
Human Services Research Institute. (2016). ProtectOHIO final evaluation report: Ohio’s Title IV-E Waiver Demonstration Project covering the third waiver period, 2010-2015. https://jfs.ohio.gov/static/ocf/ProtectOHIOThirdWaiverPeriod2010-2015FinalEvaluationReportFebruary2016.pdf
Wheeler, C. B., Newton-Curtis, L., Forehand, Oliver, S., Mendoza, G., Hervey, K., Woodruff, K. D., & Petraglia, E. E. (2020). ProtectOHIO final evaluation report. Human Services Research Institute and Westat. https://jfs.ohio.gov/static/ocf/ProtectOHIO-FourthWaiverPeriod-FinalEvaluationReport%E2%80%93June2020.pdf
- Patricia Wilson, BSW
- Agency/Affiliation: Ohio Department of Job and Family Services — Office of Families and Children
- Website: jfs.ohio.gov/ocf/index.stm
- Email: Patricia.Wilson01@jfs.ohio.gov
- Phone: (614) 752-1142
Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: September 2021
Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: July 2023
Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: June 2019