Littlewood, K. (2015). Kinship Services Network Program: Five year evaluation of family support and case management for informal kinship families. Children and Youth Services Review, 52, 184-191. Retrieved at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2014.10.008
The purpose of the present study is to seek to better understand if a community-based family support program,Kinship Services Network (KSN), can improve the social support and family resource needs for kinship families and promote safety and permanence for children in informal kinship placements at a low cost. During the five year evaluation period, KSN served 2956 participants in one urban southeastern county. A stratified random sample of participants completed pre-and post-assessments of their perceived social support and adequacy of family resource needs. Administrative data was used to determine whether children of all participants remained in the care of a relative twelve months after program completion. Cost estimates were used to compare the costs for several placement options for children. Additionally, a case example is used to illustrate program implementation. Participants in the program improved their adequacy of social support and improved family resource needs (p b .001). Ninety-nine percent of participants' children did not enter the child welfare system at twelve month follow-up, showing placement stability and child safety. KSN cost of service is less than half the costs associated with adjudicating a child dependent. Non-relative foster care is 6× (six times) and residential group care is more than 21× (twenty-one times) as expensive as the KSN Program. Recommendations are provided to help community based organizations promote case management and family support services in their own communities.