- September 2019
- Vol. 20, No. 7
Placement With Family Impacts Safety, Permanency, and Well-Being
Casey Family Programs released a report as part of its From Data to Practice series that presents data and recommendations supporting the importance of families and kinship care.
The report, The Impact of Placement With Family on Safety, Permanency, and Well-Being, examines the impact spending time with family has on safety, permanency, and well-being outcomes for 436 children and youth who entered out-of-home care between July 1, 2014, and July 1, 2015. Child safety, permanency, and well-being are parameters measured by the Child and Family Services Reviews.
The following are findings and recommendations based on study data:
- More time spent with family while in out-of-home care is associated with better safety outcomes. Researchers recommend engaging youth and caregivers in conversations about what safety means to them; advancing multidisciplinary team practices, such as child and family team building, to determine if a safety issue is present; refining ways of selecting resource families to minimize the chances of maltreatment; and developing strategies for distinguishing between threats to child safety and other barriers to achieving permanency.
- More time spent with family while in out-of-home care is associated with improved well-being, including educational and mental and physical health outcomes and feelings of optimism. Researchers recommend engaging youth and families in conversations about what well-being means to them; exploring the intersection between safety, well-being, and permanency; and engaging youth in exploring their identity and sense of belonging and how they influence well-being.
- More time spent placed with family while in out-of-home care is associated with a greater chance of obtaining and maintaining relational permanency. Researchers recommend working with state partners to focus on both placement stability and obtaining and maintaining lifelong family connections; ensuring staff explore all possible ways for family members to make lifelong connections with youth; continuing the use of strategies such as family finding and engagement, building and supporting youth and family networks, and individual child and family teaming as ways to locate and engage family members; and, when possible, having children placed with family if they have to enter foster care.
- More time spent placed with family while in out-of-home care is associated with a greater chance of obtaining legal permanency. Researchers recommend examining licensing requirements for kinship caregivers and exploring ways to simplify and expedite the process; engaging families, including birth parents; challenging the bias against birth families, including those who have had their parental rights terminated; incorporating family group conferences or other family-centered teaming strategies to elevate relatives' voices, create a space for relatives to develop their own plan, and break down power differentials.
The report also includes several real-life stories highlighting themes of the results.
The report is available at https://caseyfamilypro-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/media/1896-CS-From-Data-to-Practice-2018.pdf (1,387 KB).