For Immediate Release
Children’s Rights: Camilla Jenkins, 917-971-1784, email@example.com;
Generations United: Laura O’Connor, 202-360-2559, firstname.lastname@example.org
(September 27, 2023; Washington, DC) – Today, the U.S. Administration for Children and Families released a revised rule that addresses a longstanding inequity faced by relatives and kin caregivers and the children they care for in foster care. The revised rule, for the first time, explicitly allows states to use kin-specific commonsense foster care licensing standards. This change will allow more children to be cared for by those they know and love and financially supported like children with non-kin foster parents.
“This new rule is an urgent and long overdue opportunity to streamline approval and provide equal federal support for kin. While we must urgently work to reduce the number of children in our national foster system by ending unnecessary family separation in the first place, we must also support youth currently in the foster system, and kin play a crucial role in the solution. Longstanding federal law upholds – and clinical research backs up – that children in the system are best served when placed with kinship caregivers. Streamlined approval for kin and full and equal federal payments for kin families is a matter of basic fairness and civil rights. Add the long known reality that our nation’s kin families are disproportionately poor, Black, Brown and Indigenous families, equal support is a racial justice issue as well,” said Ira Lustbader, Litigation Director and Chief Program Officer at Children’s Rights.
“This new rule will make life better for thousands of children and will allow states to better support the extraordinary kin who step up to help kids and families every day. The change means kin will receive monthly financial support to meet the needs of children they didn’t plan or expect to raise. Children who are disproportionately Black, Brown, Indigenous, and/or live in underserved rural regions and do not receive foster care payments simply because their relatives cannot satisfy rules that were not created with their strengths or needs in mind,” said Ana Beltran, Director of the Grandfamilies & Kinship Support Network at Generations United.
Kinship caregivers themselves have joined advocates in championing this rule clarification, sharing how the new rule will better serve children and their families:
“After a career working in tribal foster care and serving as a kinship caregiver to my own grandson, I know well that children should be kept with their families whenever possible. This necessary rule will help relieve some of the barriers, stress and financial hardship that kinship caregivers face, while preserving the family bond that children so desperately need to grow and thrive. Too often I see grandparents, aunts and uncles unreasonably denied placement of children who would be best served by the care of a family member. When receiving my own grandchild, I had 12 hours to meet the requirements of keeping him, or my grandchild would have to go to foster care with strangers – and it would be difficult to get him back. I had to borrow money to meet the requirement, as well. It’s a great relief to know that more children will be able to receive the care only families can provide as a result of this rule,” said Robyn Wind, GRAND Voices Support Coordinator for Generations United.
Read the new rule here.
**Advocates, legal experts and kinship caregivers are available for further comment upon request.
ABOUT CHILDREN’S RIGHTS
Children’s Rights is a national advocacy organization dedicated to improving the lives of children living in or impacted by America’s child welfare, juvenile legal, immigration, education, and healthcare systems. We use civil rights impact litigation, advocacy and policy expertise, and public education to hold governments accountable for keeping kids safe and healthy. Our work centers on creating lasting systemic change that will advance the rights of children for generations. For more information, please visit childrensrights.org.
ABOUT GENERATIONS UNITED
For more than three decades, Generations United’s mission has been to improve the lives of children, youth, and older adults through intergenerational collaboration, public policies, and programs for the enduring benefit of all. We have been the catalyst for policies and practices stimulating cooperation and collaboration among generations, evoking the vibrancy, energy and sheer productivity that result when people of all ages come together. Critical to our mission, Generations United has two initiatives to support kinship families: its long-standing National Center on Grandfamilies, and the Grandfamilies & Kinship Support Network, which is the first-ever federally supported national technical assistance center on the families, run in cooperation with the U.S. Administration for Community Living. Learn more at www.gu.org and www.gksnetwork.org.