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Exemplary Practices

Elevating Exemplary Kinship Policies, Practices, and Programs


One of the goals of the Grandfamilies & Kinship Support Network: A National Technical Assistance Center (Network) is to designate and elevate exemplary kinship/grandfamilies policies, practices, and programs implemented by state, tribal, and territorial agencies and community-based organizations. We are doing this work so kinship service providers can learn from each other and support more kinship families around the country.

Starting in late November 2023, we will begin sharing exemplary kinship programs earning this designation, along with resources about each program that you can use to help inform your work.

Please check this page often.

About the Process

The Network determined exemplary kinship program status through a multi-step process that began with an open application promoted through our newsletter, social media, our partners, and this website (which launched in September 2022). The application period ran for four months, and an array of over 30 kinship programs from around the country submitted complete applications. Although the application was open to kinship practices and policies as well as kinship programs, only kinship programs applied. The Network plans to release another exemplary application opportunity during spring 2025 to capture exemplary practices and policies as well. 

In late 2022, three Network staff reviewed and scored the applications using a rubric informed by our evaluator, Child Trends. The rubic contained ten criteria: addressing strengths and needs of the population served; demonstrating success; engaging clients/target population in service offerings; incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) principles and strategies; promoting cross-system collaboration; engaging multiple partners; sustainability; continuous quality improvement; embedding the support of kinship families in agency values and principles; and collecting client demographic and satisfaction data.

Nineteen programs scored well across the criteria, and the Network arranged visits to each of those programs. A minimum of two Network representatives (consisting of at least one staff member and at least one subject matter expert or representative from a partner organization) visited the programs in summer/fall 2023 to conduct three separate group interviews with program staff, caregivers, and partners. If the visit findings and stakeholder interviews aligned with claims made in the application, the Network was pleased to designate the kinship program as exemplary.

The Network visited several programs that were not designated as exemplary due primarily to programmatic service delivery concerns raised by partners and clients. Network staff have offered to assist those programs. The Network is also providing intensive technical assistance to a cohort of community-based programs, mainly caregiver-led, that were not designated as exemplary due to issues around their own capacity, including funding sustainability.

Assistance from the Network is available free of charge to all kinship service programs, so please do not hesitate to reach out.

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