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June 2024Vol. 25, No. 5Kin-Finding Toolkit Provides Best Practices for Connecting Youth With Kin

The benefits of kinship care placements and strong connections with kin are well-studied in child welfare. However, it can be challenging for child welfare agencies to identify and connect with extended family members. Recognizing these challenges, the Grandfamilies and Kinship Support Network released a kin-finding toolkit to help agencies increase their kin placement rates. The ideas and resources were compiled from more than 35 child welfare agencies across the country.

The toolkit provides tools, strategies, and information about 22 promising kin-finding practices and how agencies can implement the practices. Examples of these practices include the following:

  • Ask youth about their kin and use tools like genograms and heart maps to identify a youth's important relationships.
  • Use an expansive legal definition of kin and leverage the court system to encourage kin-finding.
  • Use social media to find kin as well as a variety of contact methods.
  • Involve kin prior to removal and make a plan to keep youth connected to their supportive adults.
  • Make keeping in touch with kin a formal foster family responsibility.
  • Make sure kin have a robust presence at meetings.
  • Use methods like "Extreme Family Finding" and never stop looking for kin.

Explore the toolkit for more details about the promising practices to promote and increase kin-first culture in child welfare.