Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Child and Family Services (PA-CFS) 26: Resource Family Development, Support, and Retention

The agency promotes resource family development and retention by collaborating with resource families to identify and provide the support needed to ensure that children receive safe, consistent, and nurturing care.

NA The agency does not work with children placed in out-of-home care.
2020 Edition




Child and Family Services promote child and family well-being, protect children’s safety, stablilize and strengthen families, and ensure permanency.
Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the agency's practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  
  • All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions; exceptions do not impact service quality or agency performance. 
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance
A rating of (2) indicates that an agency's infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement. 
  • The majority of the standards requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented.  
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality or agency performance.  
Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
A rating of (3) indicates that the agency's observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement.  
  • The agency has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework.   
  • Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner. 
  • Service quality or agency functioning may be compromised.   
  • Capacity is at a basic level.
Unsatisfactory Implementation or Performance
A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all.  
  • The agency’s observed service delivery infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.  
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • A calendar or listing of peer support, recreational and social activities


  • Procedures for referring individuals to services
  • Procedures for annual mutual reviews
  • Copy of tool(s) for annual mutual reviews
  • Procedures for kinship caregiver assessments
  • Copy of tool(s) for kinship caregiver assessments
  • Documentation of attendance at peer support, recreational, and social activities
  • Informational materials on community resources provided to resource parents, including any specific materials for kinship caregivers
  • Community resource and referral list
  • Aggregate resource family retention data for the previous 12 months


  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Resource parents
  • Review case records
  • Review resource parent records


PA-CFS 26.01

The agency facilitates networking and mutual support among resource parents by providing:
  1. regular, inviting, and accessible opportunities for peer support; and 
  2. recreational and social activities.

Interpretation: Kinship care programs should offer activities more regularly if these activities are a fundamental component of the services they offer kinship families, such as if recreational activities function as a form of respite for kinship caregivers. 

Examples: Opportunities for support can include regular meetings in which resource parents can share concerns and discuss strategies for managing their role, and/or social events that bring resource families together and give them the chance to get to know each other better. Agencies can work with resource parents to determine how to make peer support opportunities more accessible, such as by offering food or child care. Agencies can also offer opportunities tailored to meet the different needs of the different groups of resource parents they work with. For example, LGBTQ resource parents may wish to meet with other LGBTQ families, kinship caregivers may benefit from sharing experiences with other kinship caregivers, and prospective resource parents who have not yet been matched with a child may wish to meet others who are also awaiting placement.   


PA-CFS 26.02

Resource families are helped to identify and access any supports and services needed to improve family functioning and prevent and reduce stress and family crisis, including:  
  1. child care; 
  2. counseling, including any services and supports needed to address family relationships; 
  3. respite care;
  4. transportation;
  5. peer support opportunities outside of the agency; 
  6. cultural, recreational, and social activities outside of the agency; and
  7. informal resources that can offer support.

Interpretation: Regarding element (c), respite care options should be reviewed with resource parents prior to a child joining the family, and on a regular basis. 

Examples: Informal resources that can offer support can include: extended family, friends, and neighbors; members of clan, tribal, religious, and spiritual communities; local businesses or other community agencies; and other resource parents.  As appropriate to each family’s situation and in line with requirements for ensuring safety, the family and resource family can collaboratively or individually identify informal resources to help care for children and/or provide other types of support. This type of support may be included in service plans to ensure appropriate communication.  


PA-CFS 26.03

Resource families participate in an annual mutual review to identify areas of strength and concern and develop plans for needed support and training.

Interpretation: The annual re-assessment conducted as part of the home recertification process may be used to demonstrate implementation of this standard. However, the mutual review should not be conducted by a licensing worker as an isolated occurrence – in contrast, it should ideally be conducted in collaboration with the child welfare caseworker, and include a review of information and issues that arose throughout the year.


Unlicensed kinship caregivers are not required to participate in the mutual review, and this standard will not be applicable when a resource family has not yet been matched with a child.


PA-CFS 26.04

Kinship caregivers participate in an assessment of strengths and needs, and are helped to obtain any needed services and supports related to the following areas:  
  1. financial assistance, including any specialized financial supports available to kinship caregivers; 
  2. legal services; 
  3. housing assistance and resources needed to provide a safe home environment; 
  4. food and clothing; 
  5. physical and mental health care; and 
  6. support services, including in-home supports.



The assessment of strengths and needs should include attention to kinship caregivers’ satisfaction and recommendations, as well as any discrimination they may face in their role.  When the agency is working with American Indian/Alaska Native children and families, tribal representatives should be used as resources to help locate the most appropriate services for kinship caregivers.


PA-CFS 26.05

The agency promotes resource family retention by:
  1. providing resource families who have not yet been matched with a child with ongoing information and support while they wait;  
  2. conducting exit interviews with resource families who leave the agency to determine why they left; and
  3. annually evaluating retention data to determine what strategies/practices work well, and what strategies/practices may need to be modified or eliminated.