A significant body of research illuminates the ways in which kinship care benefits children and youth and increases positive child welfare outcomes. Building on that knowledge base, the term “Kin First” has been coined to identify policy and practice approaches that recognize the value of kinship relationships and prioritize kin as the preferred option if out-of-home placement is necessary. This session will highlight key research findings and review policy examples and practice strategies to prioritize kinship care and respond to the unique strengths and needs of kinship caregivers. Participants will leave with practical examples of tactics they can pursue in their own agencies and systems.
In this training you will be able to...
Describe at least three benefits to children of kinship care as compared to non-relative foster care.
Describe at least 3 policy strategies to prioritize kinship care as the preferred option when children need out-of-home placement.
Identify at least 3 examples of practices and supports to assist with the unique needs of kinship caregivers.
Maureen Heffernan, MSSA, LISW-S
Maureen Heffernan, MSSA, LISW-S is an independent child welfare consultant and trainer. She has worked across the United States assisting child welfare jurisdictions to achieve better and more equitable outcomes for vulnerable children, youth, and their families. Her focus areas include youth permanency, family search and engagement, kinship care, foster care, and the recruitment, development, and support of foster and adoptive families. She has extensive work experience in public and private child welfare settings, is a trainer in the Ohio Child Welfare Training Program and an Adjunct Instructor at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.