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Does Your Child Welfare Agency Divert Children to Kin? Guide to using the Kinship Diversion Estimation Tool

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Child Trends
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Child welfare agencies across the country rely on grandparents and other relatives to care for children who cannot remain safely with their parents. In many jurisdictions, agencies facilitate arrangements by which children are placed with relatives as an alternative to foster care. We use the term “kinship diversion” to refer to situations in which a child comes to the attention of a child welfare agency and is placed with relatives as an alternative to foster care. Other terms include informal or voluntary kinship care or safety plans.
While the incidence of kin diversion differs widely from one jurisdiction to another, this kinship care scenario is the most common out-of-home placement for children removed from their homes. Perspectives on the practice vary, but one thing is certain: Without understanding the key aspects of kin diversion—such as when, why, how often, and with whom it is used—we cannot recognize its benefits and shortcomings for children and their families.

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