The Kinship Diversion Debate

Policy and Practice Implications for Children, Families and Child Welfare Agencies

By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

January 1, 2013


Child welfare agencies across the country rely on grandparents and other relatives to care for children who cannot remain safely with their parents. This report explores the practice of "kinship diversion" in which children are placed with relatives as an alternative to foster care.  Different perspectives about whether kinship diversion is a good or bad practice are offered.  The report concludes that child welfare agencies should more thoroughly explore their kinship diversion practices to ensure they adequately meet the needs of children, their parents and kinship caregivers.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaway

Little is currently understood about the kinship diversion practice

Some child welfare stakeholders consider kinship diversion to be a good practice because it offers a safe, less intrusive alternative to the bureaucratic complexities of foster care, while others worry that too many children are diverted to live with relatives without appropriate safeguards and services for children, parents and caregivers.

Findings & Stats

Statements & Quotations