Background and Purpose
In Indiana, one region of the child welfare agency is piloting a federally funded Kinship Navigator program with a similar region serving as the control. The Kinship Navigator program is being piloted to enable navigators who have been employed and trained to provide further assistance to caregivers and connect them to available community resources. This study forms part of an evaluation for the Administration for Children and Families to determine baseline indicators between the pilot and control regions in Indiana.
Two focus group discussions were conducted with a total of 20 family case managers, 12 from the pilot region and 8 from the control region to examine their perspectives concerning unmet needs of kinship caregivers. The focus group discussions which lasted for about one hour to an hour and thirty minutes were recorded and transcribed verbatim for thematic analyses.
Our thematic data analysis, and aggregated themes from both regions reflect unmet needs including concrete services, support for ineligible kinship caregiver, financial support for children’s extracurricular activities, and administrative operational challenges within Department of Child Services (DCS) in both the pilot and control regions.
Our findings show both similar and distinctive unmet needs between the kinship navigator program pilot and control regions in Indiana. This result provides useful information for both regions for service and policy enhancement in order to serve kinship caregivers and to ensure that they receive adequate support to provide for the children placed with them.
Key words; kinship caregivers, unmet needs, Department of Child Services, Kinship Navigator program