The Kinship Care Practice Project: An Overview

The Kinship Care Practice Project conducts research, develops training materials, and provides educational opportunities to ensure safety, well-being, and permanent homes for children through collaborative work with extended families. The project began in 1992 as a research and demonstration project funded by the Adoption Opportunities Program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children, Youth and Families (ACYF).  The project has received additional support through a subsequent training and curriculum development grant from ACYF, contracts with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, additional support from the Jane Addams College of Social Work and the Jane Addams Center for Social Policy and Research at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and in-kind contributions from many community and child welfare agencies.

The 1992 research and demonstration project: (1) examined child welfare practice with children in foster care placements with relatives, and (2) developed a training curriculum and videotapes based on practice principles that promote safety, well-being, and permanent homes for children. These training materials have been disseminated widely and can be viewed at no cost through this website or purchased at minimal cost. Staff of the kinship care practice project are available on a limited basis to provide training (for a fee plus expenses) for supervisors, trainers, and child welfare practitioners, based upon this training curriculum. Consultation and training are offered at a reduced cost for organizations that make a commitment to participate in ongoing evaluation of the implementation and effectiveness of the practice model that is presented in the training materials.

While the kinship care practice project originally focused on families with children who are in the custody of the child welfare system, our work has expanded to include informal kinship caregiving families; those not involved with the child welfare system. Since 2000 much of our research examines the protective factors in informal kinship care arrangements. We are currently conducting research in collaboration with informal kinship caregiving families and community agencies that support these families.

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