Michigan State University School of Social Work and partner agencies receive $2.5 million federal grant

October 27, 2021

EAST LANSING Mich., Oct. 8, 2021 – Michigan State University announced today that a multi-agency partnership including the university’s School of Social Work has received a new 5-year, $2.5 million grant from the Federal Administration for Children & Families, Children’s Bureau to develop a new program designed to promote and support normalcy in child-rearing activities and parenting for children in foster care.

The funding will establish the Kinship Network Development, Empowerment and Resilience plus Connection and Relationship Enhancement through Shared Parenting (KINDER-CARES) Program. The new program will provide critical support to kinship families caring for foster children when they most need it, and will increase kinship families’ access to vital supports and critical resources that can lessen the challenges of taking in a child. The program also is designed to transform relationships between the child welfare system, foster parents, kinship caregivers, and parents.

KINDER-CARES will begin operations in October of 2021. Spaulding for Children, a private, non-profit child welfare agency, will serve as the lead agency in a partnership that includes the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and its Macomb County office and Michigan State University. Michigan State University will be responsible for evaluating the intervention and helping ensure that it is informed by evidence-based practices.  The program will focus first on families in Macomb County. The program will be systematically refined and shared with foster care providers throughout the nation.

Sacha KleinSacha Klein, Lead Evaluator of KINDER-CARES and Associate Professor of Social Work at MSU, said: “By evaluating the implementation, outcomes, and costs of the KINDER-CARES program, we will help ensure that this innovative program is informed by evidence-based practices, continuous quality improvement data indicators, and assessed with state-of-the-art evaluation tools and methods.”

KINDER-CARES will create more effective approaches to improve stability, permanency, and family-centered well-being. Its strategies will provide comprehensive supports and services for kinship families and promote broadening the role of kinship and foster families through shared parenting.