The Children’s Bureau released the program instructions, ACYF-CB-PI-21-05, for IV-E agencies authorizing programmatic flexibilities from April 1, 2020, to September 30, 2021, for Kinship Navigator Programs. Currently, none of the kinship navigator program models have received an evidence-based standard of practice from the IV-E Clearinghouse, and agencies have not been able to draw down IV-E prevention funding. The temporary flexibilities provided by the Supporting Foster Youth and Families Through the Pandemic Act allow IV-E agencies to claim 100 percent Federal Financial Participation (FFP) for allowable kinship navigator program costs.


In order to qualify for the temporary flexibilities, “the title IV-E agency must, however, provide an assurance that the title IV-E Kinship Navigator Program will be, or is in the process of being, evaluated for the purpose of building an evidence base to determine later whether the program meets the title IV-E evidence-based standard requirements.” This can also include programs that have received an IV-E prevention clearinghouse rating of “does not currently meet criteria.” The IV-E agency must submit (Attachment B) their IV-E plan to the Children’s Bureau for approval.

In the program instructions, the Children’s Bureau provides requirements for qualifying for funding, which states that the kinship navigator program must “assist kinship caregivers in learning about, finding, and using programs and services to meet the needs of the children they are raising and their own needs, and to promote effective partnerships among public and private agencies to ensure kinship caregiver families are served.” The program could promote service coordinator, establish information and referral systems, provide outreach, establish and support a kinship care ombudsman, or “support other activities designed to assist kinship caregivers in obtaining benefits and services to improve their caregiving.”


Children do not have to meet the definition of a foster care candidate to be eligible for services; in addition, the children bureau encourages agencies to adopt a broad definition of kinship care. Other allowable uses include direct services and assistance to kinship families, health care and legal assistance, technology supports, and assistance to support permanency, safety, and well-being.


To access the Program Instructions and attachments, click the links below: