Proposed Rule Will Make More Grandparents and Other Relatives Eligible for Resources to Support Them in Caring for Children Whose Parents Cannot

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HHS Announces New Proposed Foster Family Licensing Regulation to Help Expand Access to Kinship Caregiving

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), announced a new proposed regulation to lessen obstacles in licensing standards for kinship foster caregivers. This proposed rule aligns with President Biden’s priorities on providing necessary resources to keep families together and support kinship care.

“The Biden-Harris Administration continues to prioritize keeping families safely together, including removing barriers for child welfare agencies to license grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other relatives and kin who step up to foster children during challenging times,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “As this new proposed regulation gives states and tribes the ability to adopt separate licensing standards for relatives and other kin, we encourage agencies to place as few burdens as possible on kin, consistent with the safety and well-being of the child.”

Currently, all foster family homes must meet the same licensing standards, regardless of whether the foster family home is a kin or non-kin placement. This updated regulation allows a child welfare agency to adopt different licensing standards for all kin foster family homes to lessen delays in the kinship foster family licensing process. Kin can include individuals related to a child by blood, marriage, or adoption and other individuals who have an emotionally significant relationship with the child, such as godparents, and close family friends. 

ACF’s Children’s Bureau encourages child welfare agencies to strongly consider developing standards for kin foster family homes that meet only the federal requirements and not additional standards the state, local, or tribal agency may require non-relative foster family homes to meet. These standards may include extending the age limits for kinship foster care providers to allow for older kin to foster a child or allowing kin children to share sleeping spaces. 

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