Kinship Care: Evaluating Policy and Practice

Susan Burke, Jane Bouey, Carol Madsen, Louise Costello, Glen Schmidt, Patricia Barkaskas, Nicole White, Caitlin Alder, Rabiah Murium

This study explores the state of kinship care in British Columbia (BC), Canada 10 years after the implementation of major policy reform designed by the provincial government to improve services to kinship caregivers. It arises from a community-based research project that included Parent Support Services (PSS), a charitable nonprofit organization that supports kinship caregivers in BC, and the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC).

Two hundred participants were involved, including kinship caregivers and key informants. Data collection used surveys, focus groups, and interviews. The key recommendation from this article is that there should be ongoing evaluation of the experiences of kinship caregivers, particularly after policy changes, to ensure that kinship care programs meet the needs of those for whom they were created. Based on what was shared by the caregivers, secondary recommendations around the provision of supports and services are also provided.

Journal of Public Child Welfare