The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR), Bureau for Children and Families (BCF) today released a Study of Kinship Care Families. The purpose of the study, conducted by A Second Chance, Inc., through a grant from Casey Family Programs, was to gain recommendations for improving services provided for kinship/relative foster care families.
The study fulfils the requirements of House Bill 2010 (W.Va. Code § 49-2-111b) and addresses delays in foster care certification, payment options for relatives/kin and specific supports needed to better meet the needs of relative/kinship families involved with DHHR.
“We believe that placing a child with a relative is almost always the best option for a child when it is necessary to remove him or her from their home,” said Linda Watts, BCF Commissioner. “The findings of this report will help us identify specific areas of strengths and gaps relating to kinship/relative care.”
The recommendations of the report include continuing and enhancing current efforts, as well as additional suggestions including:
• Outcomes-based practice model
• Kinship/relative specific training and support
• Options for enhancing/expanding financial reimbursement
• Conducting work/time studies to determine caseload standards
• Conduct an environmental scan on current supports
• Expand/enhance the Kinship Navigator Program
BCF is working toward additional grant funds to continue working with A Second Chance Inc., to begin implementation of the recommendations.
Commissioner Watts added, “This study is an important part of our ongoing efforts that a strong and cohesive voice will transform West Virginia’s child welfare system in addressing the safety, well-being and permanency of children and their families.”