DCYF Publishes Kin-First Culture Research and Recommendations

May 25, 2023
grandparents with child reading a book

The Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families published a report with recommendations and research findings on creating a kin-first culture in Washington State. 

DCYF believes that kinship caregivers (including relatives and close family friends) are the best option when a child or youth cannot live with their parent(s). More than half of all children and youth experiencing foster care are cared for by a kinship caregiver such as a relative or close family friend.

The research aimed to answer what a kin-first culture looks like in Washington State and how to get there. The report provides insights into what works well, and challenges within the current system, and recommends actionable “plays” to help improve kinship care within Washington State.

At the end of this report, you will find a “Playbook” of recommendations. The Playbook includes individual-level recommendations that staff can use today, organizational-level recommendations that DCYF has started to prioritize and focus on, and state-level recommendations larger than DCYF can resolve alone. 

We hope other state agencies, tribal and community partners, and philanthropists will utilize and leverage the research and recommendations in their work. 

For the report, the researcher used: 

  • Existing research
  • Interviews and group discussions with DCYF staff across all levels and divisions
  • Interviews with service providers and Child Placing Agencies within Washington state
  • Interviews with kin caregivers and youth

The Kinship project is part of DCYF’s Thriving Families campaign, which is made up of multiple projects and initiatives within the child welfare space that focus on prevention, supporting families and staff, and strengthening our practice.

If you have any questions or comments, please email DCYF Kinship Co-design at dcyf.kinshipcodesign@dcyf.wa.gov