About Us
The Hilda R. Baker Kinship Institute For Leadership and Program Development

Kinship care, or family caring for family, is a natural, out-of-home placement option for children which successfully meets their need for safety, permanency and well-being.  While this alternative has been utilized for centuries in some cultures, its official foray into the American foster care system occurred only in 1987, through Policy Announcement ACYF-PA-8702.  Today, 26% of the 581,000 children in foster care are placed with relatives (Adoption and Foster Care Reporting System).  Opinions, knowledge, policies and programs regarding kinship care do vary, but one thing is clear:  kinship foster care is here to stay. 

In response to the national need for kinship care information and best practice support, A Second Chance, Inc., a Pittsburgh area non-profit, community-based provider agency, is proud to announce the formation of The Hilda R. Baker Kinship Institute for Program and Leadership Development. Its mission is:  To create and support a network of leaders working with kinship care and human services.

ASCI is the only known organization in the nation that exclusively provides case management and support services.  Over 4500 kinship children living with relatives or family friends have been served in a holistic, culturally sensitive manner since 1994, in partnership with our public agency, Allegheny County Department of Human Services-Office of Children, Youth & Families (recently profiled on CNN Newsnight). 

Staff, families and consultants of ASCI have been presenters at conferences; authors of kinship care research; served on Congress’ Federal Advisory Panel on Kinship Care; taught college courses; and provided testimony to legislators.  Among ASCI’s many other accomplishments is its study as a model kinship care agency by The Urban Institute and Children and Youth Funding Report.  The creation of our Kinship Institute provides us with an innovative way to share this experience and expertise with others on a widespread basis, in response to the consistent and growing number of kinship care inquiries we receive, from as far away as South Africa.

The Institute is intended to benefit child welfare administrators, legislators, human services professionals, academicians, family members and others.  Trainings, consultation, a trade journal and kinship care research/resources are some of its planned components. Issues to be addressed through Institute offerings will include strength-based family assessment and kinship care case management; legislative mandates; subsidized legal guardianship; fiscal accountability; and leadership styles, etc.  Among its faculty are child welfare administrators, lawyers, accountants, human resources certified professionals, licensed social workers and others who have studied, created, administered, evaluated and personally lived in, kinship care.

I am hopeful you and your organization will not only utilize, but contribute to the knowledge base of, the Hilda R. Baker Institute for Program and Leadership Development.  In this way, we can work together to enhance the lives of children who have already been traumatized by their removal from their birthparents and deserve a loving, stable, and healthy future. 

For more information, please call me at (412) 342-0600

Yours truly,

Dr. Sharon L. McDaniel, Ed.D.
CEO, President and Founder