Everyday hundreds of thousands of extended family members step in to keep children safe and nurtured when their parents cannot. CWLA defines kinship care as the full-time protecting and nurturing of children by grandparents, aunts, uncles, godparents, older siblings, non-related extended family members, and anyone to whom children and parents ascribe a family relationship. Within this definition there are two populations of kinship families: (a) informal, where children live with grandparents or other relatives and are not in the custody of a public child welfare agency; and (b) formal, where children are placed in the care of a relative or non-related extended family member and are in the custody of a public child welfare agency. Whether informally arranged among family members or formally supported by the child welfare system, it is essential to affirm and support the considerable contributions of kinship caregivers.
Through research and field tests, CWLA has developed and is pleased to offer the Traditions of Caring and Collaborating Kinship Family Information, Support, and Assessment Trauma Informed Model of Practice (hereafter referred to as Traditions of Caring and Collaborating) that agencies can implement and adapt. This Model of Practice provides the framework in which all staff have the same vision and mission, share the same values, use strengths-based language, implement evidence-informed practice principles and strategies, and achieve outcomes in the best interests of children and families.
Traditions of Caring and Collaborating focuses on competencies needed to address issues of concern for kinship families and agency staff who work with them such as legal status, financial support, family relationship, health and mental health and child behavior. The components of the model include guidance for staff in collaborating with kinship caregivers, detailed assistance in facilitating information and support groups for kinship caregivers, as well as completing mutual family assessments. Our approach recognizes the distinctions in the roles between kinship caregivers and foster parents based on the dynamics unique to the inherited role of being someone’s grandparent, other relative, or a non-related extended family member and the acquired role of volunteering to foster.
To help agencies and organizations honor and support kinship families, CWLA offers 1) a 12-hour training program for all staff in agencies that work with kinship families and 2) a 30-hour training program for all staff who facilitate the nine information and support meetings and complete family assessments with kinship caregivers.
1) Implementing Traditions of Caring and Collaborating: This 12-hour curriculum provides the foundation of the model of practice including introduction to the dynamic of kinship care, practice principles necessary to work collaboratively with kinship caregivers, and strategies to address the impact of family and child trauma.
2) Traditions of Caring and Collaborating Kinship Family Information, Support, and Assessment Trauma Informed Model of Practice: This 30-hour curriculum is designed for all staff responsible for facilitating the information and support meetings of kinship caregivers. It also helps kin and agency staff assess the willingness, ability, and resources of kinship caregivers to achieve the three federally mandated outcomes of child safety, well-being, and permanence.
Together, these two programs provide the foundation and tools necessary for an agency or organization to implement the Model of Practice.
For information and assistance with the Traditions of Caring and Collaborating Kinship Family Information, Support, and Assessment Trauma Informed Model of Practice, please contact Marcus Stallworth, LMSW, Director, Training and Implementation or Gaelle Augustin, Training and Administration Associate.