Supporting the 188,000 Children Living with Grandparents and Other Relatives Who are Not in Kinship Foster Care: Testimony: Joint Legislative Hearing on the Governor's Proposed Human Services Budget.
New York State Kinship Navigator. New York State Kincare Coalition.
Legislation-Hearing State Resource
Published: February 9, 2021
New York State Senate
The Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224
The NYS KinCare Coalition represents the kinship community in New York State. Led by the statewide Kinship Navigator with participants from the 14 local kinship programs, the 15 regional permanency resource centers, kinship legal service providers, and voluntary foster care agencies, the Coalition seeks to improve supports for New York State kinship families: grandparents, other relatives, and family friends who provide care for an estimated 195,000 children not living with their parents. Most children in kinship care are NOT in foster care: less than 7,300 of kinship children are in kinship foster care, while the remainder live with kinship caregivers either by court order or informally, with no official designation. Children live with kin for similar reasons as to why they might enter non-relative foster care, such as: parental abuse/neglect, substance abuse, incarceration, and other safety concerns. Children in these homes experience the same special needs as children in foster care: emotional and behavioral disorders, educational disabilities, trauma, and loss. Kinship caregivers tend to be single, older, and are more likely to be disabled and on a fixed income. Despite the challenges, the research is clear: children have better outcomes when they live with kinship caregivers. By providing a greater likelihood of having a permanent home, maintaining connections to siblings and other extended family, and a remaining connected to a sense of cultural identity, kinship homes lead children to better behavioral and mental health outcomes in the short-term, and decreased adverse health effects as the child enters adulthood. New York State funds a statewide Kinship Navigator (information, referral, advocacy, and education services) and 14 localized kinship service providers (which cover 25 counties, and provide case management, respite, and support groups) administered by the Office of Children and Family Services. Responsibility for meeting the needs of kinship families who are not in foster care primarily falls to the 14 local kinship services and the Kinship Navigator. During the Covid-19 pandemic, these programs have provided valuable services to kinship caregivers and their families – helping provide food, clothing, access to technology, and other vital resources during these unprecedented times, and their work is important to the stability of the families they serve. The 2021 consolidated Omnibus Appropriations Act approved states to draw down a 100% match for dollars spent by the States on kinship services. With evidence-based requirements being temporarily waived by the federal government to obtain matching dollars, all 14 programs and the Statewide Kinship Navigator are eligible to receive matching funds to extend the scope of their work. State funding programs is vital for federal matching dollar eligibility. (Author abstract)
KINSHIP CARE; KINSHIP ADOPTION; FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS; INFORMAL ADOPTION; CHILD WELFARE SERVICES; EXTENDED FAMILIES; FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS; FLEXIBLE FUNDING; FOSTER FAMILIES; OUT OF HOME CARE; SUBSIDIZED GUARDIANSHIP; COST EFFECTIVENESS; OUTCOMES; ADOPTION OUTCOMES; NEW YORK