Kinship Care Taskforce Reports

2023 State Roundtable Report

At the 2023 Pennsylvania State Roundtable, the Kinship Care Taskforce’s report was unanimously approved. In the fall of 2022, Supreme Court Justice Kevin M. Dougherty became the lead chairperson of the Kinship Taskforce. The Taskforce spent most of its third year conducting quarterly data analysis.

Pennsylvania has maintained a statewide percentage rate of 44% Kinship Care use, despite an overall decrease in the number of dependent children in out-of-home care. That said, the Taskforce continued to explore strategies to increase the use of safe Kinship Care. One such strategy discussed in this report was an education session for attorneys practicing in dependency proceedings. The Taskforce created an education session that will be presented to the eastern, central, and western regions of the state to better accommodate attorneys’ attendance.

Throughout the next year, the Taskforce will conduct a deep dive into the barriers to increasing Kinship Care, gain lived experience knowledge through regional listening tours, examine best practices and resources to support Kinship Caregivers, continue to track statewide data, and examine any changes to proposed federal regulatory standards for Kinship Caregivers. (to view the report, click the picture to the right)

2022 State Roundtable Report

At the 2022 Pennsylvania State Roundtable, the Kinship Care Taskforce’s report was unanimously approved. The Taskforce spent most of its second year completing a Kinship Care Analysis in three volunteer counties. This analysis aimed to take a deeper look at factors impacting why a child was not placed in kinship care. The analysis included observing court hearings in which children were placed in non-kinship homes and conducting interviews with the judicial officer, child welfare administrator, supervisor, and caseworker for each of the observed hearings. During the interviews, County and child-specific tools created by the Taskforce were completed. The tools aimed to examine county practice and policy impacting placement decisions for a child. This year’s report also includes preliminary conclusions on the use of kinship care: Kinship Care: What Have We Learned. Upon the completion of the analysis, the Taskforce put together a presentation for the 2022 Children’s Summit, “Kinship Care: A Call to Action,” in which Supreme Court Chief Justice led a presentation panel calling for all professionals in the dependency system to elevate the urgency for safe Kinship Care use in Pennsylvania. This presentation also provided updated statewide and county data on Kinship Care use. (To view the report, click the picture to the right)

2021 State Roundtable Report

At the 2021 Pennsylvania State Roundtable, the Kinship Care Taskforce presented its first report.  The Taskforce spent its first year examining Kinship Care use in Pennsylvania, including the reasons for high and low use in various counties.  Contained in this report are the steps taken to gather preliminary information. To begin, statewide Kinship Care Surveys were administered to Judges, Juvenile Court Hearing Officers and Child Welfare Administrators. These surveys sought to understand strengths and barriers to Kinship Care use. Furthermore, the Taskforce examined three sets of data, including children’s first placement type upon removal, point in time data and a statewide glance at data by age, gender, race and Leadership Roundtable. After multiple meetings and further examining the surveys and data, the Taskforce created a list of Kinship Myths often impacting the increased use of Kinship Care. Finally, this report includes an extensive list of Laws, Rules and Case Law prioritizing the use of Kinship Care when a child is removed from their home.