Jill Duerr Berrick, a professor at theUniversity of California, Berkeley, is a well-respected researcher in child welfare and a long-time advocate of kinship care. A colleague familiar with her work brought to her attention the DHS PowerPoint presentation designed to justify a policy directive requiring placement with kin under all circumstances except for safety concerns. In the attached letter, she raises concerns about how the presentation suggests support by research where no such support exists. She requests that the department consider modifying their policies. Her letter provides clarification of research to explain why she believes this request is warranted.
“While the federal government and almost every state give preference to kin, no single study to date concludes that children placed with kin fare better in the long term than children placed in non-kin foster care. This is not to say that there is not reason to believe that children will benefit form kinship care; we just do not have the evidence, ” states Rob Geen in Kinship Care, Making the Most of a Valuable Resource.
Such an important issue with such a permanent lifelong impact on children deserves a thorough discussion and evaluation, with emphasis on involving the child’s greater ohana in decision-making, something that is not always able to happen under the current directive.
Download: Berrick Letter – March 2006