Methods: Data were collected using a one-group pretest, posttest, and follow-up research design to evaluate the promise and usability of the intervention. A convenience sample of 43 unlicensed kinship caregivers from four rural and urban North Carolina counties was enrolled in the study. Questionnaires were administered at the initiation of training, after the last session, and six months after its conclusion. Fidelity data and licensure outcomes were also tracked. A series of one-way repeated measures ANOVA tests, independent samples t-tests, and correlation tests were conducted to test changes over time and subgroup differences.
Results: Overall, participants reported high levels of knowledge regarding permanency options (M=4.33, SD=0.93), but stated that they knew very little about the kinship guardianship assistance program (known as KinGAP) at pretest (M=2.29, SD=0.21). However, the results of the repeated measures ANOVA test and post-hoc analyses indicated that the mean differences in KinGAP awareness changed significantly throughout the intervention and that scores increased by an average of 0.98 units between pretest and posttest: Greenhouse-Geisser epsilon=0.87, F(2, 63)=7.80, p<.001. Neither general awareness nor difference in KinGAP awareness scores were associated with race, age, financial well-being, or county. Participants also reported high levels of learning on parenting competencies (M=4.25, SD=0.80), which did not differ by race, age, financial well-being, or county. Participants reported highly positive attitudes about receiving financial support at pretest (M=4.61, SD=0.59), which remained unchanged after the intervention. Interestingly, these attitudes were found to be worse for White participants (t(40)=2.68, p<.01) and to have a negative relationship with age (r(42)=-.31, p<.05). Lastly, follow-up data indicated that approximately 80% of families in the study were ultimately approved for foster care licensure.
Conclusions and Implications: Despite its small sample and lack of control group, the results of this pilot study offer preliminary support for interventions of this kind and fills a crucial gap in the child welfare literature regarding kin-specific supports and services. Further, the promise of these results points to the need for further, more rigorous intervention research into promising practices that may strengthen relative caregivers’ access to financial supports and their ability to promote well-being and permanency for foster youth.