New York makes progress on kinship care

Two parents with a child at sunset
Two parents with a child at sunset

New York makes progress on kinship care

More than one-third of youth in New York's foster care system are now placed with relatives.
January 31, 2020

About 34% of youth in New York’s child welfare system are currently placed with relatives, exceeding the state’s internal targets, the head of the Office of Children and Family Services said in a legislative hearing on Thursday. 

“New York City is a little bit ahead than the rest of the state, but the rest of the state is making some very significant progress,” said Sheila Poole, the agency’s commissioner, who noted that the state aimed for at least 30% of children to end up in kinship care. New York City hit that target in 2016, while in the rest of the state, only 10% of foster youth were placed with family members, according to the New York State Kinship Navigator. 

The pressure to transition toward prioritizing kinship placements statewide has amplified under the Family First Transition Act set to be implemented in New York 2021. One initiative in the governor’s budget requires counties to adopt a Kin-First Firewall policy to promote that effort. The federal government also recently allocated $21.4 million to New York to help manage the transition. Poole told state legislators that New York has yet to decide how to allocate those funds.

Poole also highlighted another proposal in the governor’s budget: the establishment of a blind removal process to limit information accessible to those deciding whether a child should be removed from a home. 

“The time is now for us to require that every county in the state adopt this blind-removal process,” she said, touting a pilot in Nassau County.

NYN Media reporter Kay Dervesh
Kay Dervishi
is a staff reporter at NYN Media.