A Casework Framework for Kinship Care
We believe that the relationship between the triad (child/youth, caregiver and birth family) and the frontline caseworker is a pivotal feature in distinguishing kinship care casework from that of traditional foster care. In particular, our value of family strategically shapes our family-agency partnership.
A value for family better serves kinship care by facilitating a casework model that is triad-centric and links the family to natural or system supports and services. With intention, we invite the entire kinship triad to make the decisions that are best for them. Our model recognizes three central points of departure from traditional foster care:
The cultural significance of the family is more influential to casework than the competency-based approach in traditional foster care.
The individual cultural strengths of the family guide practice, as opposed to the standardized service delivery of traditional foster care, which typically operates from a deficit and prescriptive mindset.
The innate strengths of families drive casework, as opposed to using the risk appraisal assessments of traditional foster care models, which operate from a pathological framework where it is assumed that something is wrong with the family.
Our models of casework maintain a strengths-driven, family-centric, out- comes-based practice of kinship care service delivery through three central practices:
We create a casework mindset where family is valued.
We engage families in a culturally responsive manner, meaning that the family’s unique cultural strengths are identified and nurtured, so they feel empowered when working both within and outside the child welfare system.
We measure our family engagement through data-informed introspection, which allows the entire case management team to maintain a deliberate agility and responsiveness to the triad.
Operationalizing the Framework
Our value of family is operationalized in case- work through the facilitation of conversations and activities that allow the family’s voice to be heard and directly impact all decision-making. Our central casework models are:
A phased strategy of casework called Point of Contact (POC) to identify the touch points needed to establish the services and engagements that will be of most value to the family. POC is a full-service model of case management. The model takes the family on a personal journey of empowerment to ensure safety for the child, maintain their well-being and plan for permanency, all the while certifying that the placement meets the requirements of the respective federal, state and local oversight authorities.
Kinship Emergency Response (KER) is our modified POC model for those seeking assistance in stabilizing the placement and licensing the family. The case is then transferred to another service provider for ongoing case management. Our KER model addresses emergency situations so kinship caregivers can bring their homes into compliance and safely provide for children. Initial case management addresses the immediate needs of the child/youth, caregiver and kinship home.
NOTE: Our case management models are designed so that we can work together with any government or community agency to implement and/or modify programs to meet specific needs.