Updated Standards for Family Foster Care and Kinship Care Services

COA celebrates National Foster Care Month and releases updated Family Foster Care and Kinship Care (FKC) Standards

Private // Canadian

When asked to identify the most urgent crisis faced by communities today, many would say opioid addiction. Others might cite mass incarceration. Some would point to economic inequality. Mental illness, immigration, and affordable housing shortages are also frequently on our minds. These challenges, daunting and pervasive as they are, also converge in one place; all have a devastating impact on family functioning, which leads more children to be cared for by relatives or foster parents. 

In the United States there are currently over 430,000 children living in foster care or kinship care and that number continues to increase with each year. During National Foster Care Month in May we take the opportunity to acknowledge resource families, child welfare workers, service providers, and all other individuals doing the critical work of serving children and families. In particular COA recognizes our over 400 accredited family foster care and kinship care providers for their continuing commitment to best practice even in the face of mounting challenges in the child welfare landscape.  

To support these organizations to make the most positive impact on children, families, and resource families, this month COA has also revised its Family Foster Care and Kinship Care (FKC) accreditation standards. Based upon on extensive and in-depth literature review in addition to feedback solicited from practitioners in the field, the revised FKC standards include significant enhancements in the following areas: 

  • Family engagement 
  • Comprehensive assessment and service planning 
  • Stabilizing, supporting, and strengthening families
  • Promoting the development and well-being of children, including facilitating normalcy
  • Trauma-informed casework and administrative practice
  • Mental health assessment, services, and psychotropic medication monitoring
  • Services and supports for pregnant and parenting youth
  • Behavior support, including safe and appropriate use of physical interventions
  • Reunification planning and support
  • Quality worker contact and home visiting 
  • Resource family recruitment

The new Family Foster Care and Kinship Care (FKC) will be applied to organizations seeking accreditation starting May 10, 2018 and can be viewed here

For a more detailed overview of the revisions please review the Family Foster Care and Kinship Care (FKC) Standards Update Summary

Special Thanks

An integral step of the standards development process is consultation with practitioners and experts in the field to ensure that accreditation standards align with service delivery on the ground. We were so fortunate to work with many knowledgeable and passionate COA stakeholders and accredited organizations who graciously took the time to review the standards and share their expertise with us. For their commitment to advancing the foster care and kinship care landscape, promoting accreditation and best practices, and most importantly, to improving the lives of children and families, they deserve our utmost appreciation:  

Janet Braker and John Dickey, Cornerstones of Care

Krista Peters, Laurallyn Segur, Lisa Smith, Chuck Waters and Elaine Woods, Eckerd Youth Alternatives

Denise Chin and Roxanna Childs, Families First Palm Beach County

Chrissy Cacace and Emily Fox, Family & Children’s Agency

Darby Barwick and Susan Ripley, Heartland for Children

Dan Trebendis and Dana Whitcomb, Hillside Family of Agencies

Shannon Harnichar, Homes for Kids of Ohio 

Carmen Balingit, Mirasol Mercado, Anabel Rodriguez, and Dynell Garron, Lincoln Families

June Cairns, Mental Health Partnerships

Wendy McMahan, Olive Crest

Rebecca Connell, SaintA

Laura Brail, Jodi Luster, and Terrie Murphy-Daniels, Spectrum Child and Family Services

Ellen Dorr, Woodfords Family Services


Private Organization Accreditation

Family Services of Southeast Texas strengthens families through accessible, affordable counseling services and education for issues affecting family life, mental health and employment.  We also provide comprehensive domestic violence shelter and support services.


Catholic Charities, Diocese of Covington

Wm. R. (Bill) Jones, ACSW, MDiv, Chief Executive Officer

Catholic Charities in Covington has been COA accredited since 1996. Though the time spent in completing the self study and hosting the site visit can sometimes feel sometimes daunting, the rewards far outweigh the effort. In our agency, the self-study is a group process that involves every member of the staff from the CEO to the building maintenance staff.
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