Below you’ll find answers to the questions we get asked the most frequently about OhioKAN.
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
- Who is eligible for OhioKAN services?
OhioKAN serves all kinship and adoptive families. The unit of service is the family which is operationalized as at least one adult kinship caregiver or adoptive parent providing 50% or more of the care for at least one child. In Ohio, a child is defined as either 1) under the age of eighteen, 2) under nineteen years of age and is a full-time student in a secondary school or in the equivalent level of vocational or technical training, or 3) mentally or physically handicapped person under twenty-one years of age.
Kinship families include children living with a relative caregiver or other loving adult such as a close family friend or neighbor. All kinship families are eligible for services regardless of whether the family was formed through a formal child welfare placement, child welfare diversion, or through a decision made by the family without the involvement of child welfare. Furthermore, kinship families are eligible for services even when the living arrangement is intended to be short-term such as when a parent is deployed by the military, receiving lengthy in-patient medical services, or incarcerated.
Post-adoptive families are eligible regardless of whether the adoption was public or private, domestic or international. Immediately prior to the finalization of an adoption, adoptive families may be eligible to receive some OhioKAN services. Once a court date is scheduled to finalize the adoption, adoptive parents are eligible to receive the Connect level of service which includes the BASICS and an individualized referral binder. Once the adoption is finalized the family is eligible for the full range of OhioKAN services. The only situation where a post-adoptive parent would not be eligible for OhioKAN is in the case of a step-parent adoption where a biological parent still lives in the home.
Eligible families are welcome to receive OhioKAN services as many times as they need until the child reaches adulthood.
- How do partnering sites support statewide service delivery in Ohio?
Ohio’s child welfare system is structured as a state supervised county administered system with 88 counties, so presence in and knowledge of the local context is essential for effectively implementing a statewide program. OhioKAN Navigators are employed by local agencies who serve as OhioKAN’s partnering sites. In Ohio, many of the partnering sites are nonprofits with a strong reputation for serving children and families in the local community or are one of the county Public Children Services Agencies (PCSA) in the region.
Each of OhioKAN’s ten regions has three to five partnering sites. Some sites employ one navigator and others employ multiple navigators. The decision about how many sites are in each region and how many navigators are at each site are made based on a variety of factors including population, the average volume of calls within the region, the number of counties the region serves, geographic factors, and other local variables.
The non-profit organization, Kinnect, and the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS) partnered together to convene a formal management structure to attend to the day-to-day operations of the program’s implementation, fidelity to the model, and sustainability. Kinnect is the statewide implementing provider organization of the OhioKAN program model. Through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), Kinnect partners with community organizations to provide navigation services to kinship and adoptive families. These navigators receive regular coaching on the OhioKAN practice model and report to a partnering supervisor within their agency who works closely with OhioKAN regional staff to ensure the program is implemented with fidelity and is offering exemplary customer service.
Neither the regional model nor the use of partnering sites is essential to the OhioKAN model. Jurisdictions hoping to replicate OhioKAN are encouraged to make implementation decisions in partnership with their communities to ensure service delivery is structured in a way that meets the needs of diverse local contexts.
- How do Navigators assess the needs of Kinship and Adoptive families?
During the initial engagement with the family, the Navigator uses the Brief Assessment & Screening to Inform, Connect, and Support (BASICS) to identify and assess the needs of the family. Goals of the assessment include:
- Collect baseline information about family needs and resources
- Identify which referrals and/or supports to provide immediately
- Identify if the family would like additional support and is willing to create a Support Plan
- Additional supports and resources include:
- Warm hand-off referrals (calling an agency with a family to introduce them and begin the connection)
- Assistance with an application
- Flexible funds and hard goods
- Benefits coordination (assisting families with benefits applications, appeals process, and other matters)
- Collaboration with caseworker, state or local agencies
- In-person services to facilitate access
- Additional supports and resources include:
Family needs and resources are collected through the BASICS, which is organized into three sections and includes nine domain areas of need.
- Basic needs: Housing, utilities, transportation, clothing, food, furniture
- Legal: Questions about custody, delinquency court, other legal services needed
- Caregiver Social Support: Loneliness, no time for self, respite, support groups
- Caregiver Health: Mental health, behavioral health, physical health, cognitive health, dental
- Caregiver training/education: Caregiver or Parenting training, support for children with special needs
- Family Functioning: Child/caregiver relationship, attachment, bonding, family relationships
- Child Care: Locating care, accessing care, after school or summer programs
- Education/Child Development: Enrolling child in school, IEP/504 plan, school supplies, Early Intervention, Head Start
- Child Social Support: Connections to peers and/or caring adults and mentors
- Child Health: Mental health, behavioral health, physical health, dental, special equipment needs
- Are families required to participate in OhioKAN?
No, OhioKAN is a voluntary program and families are not required to participate. In alignment with the program’s CARES values and the IDEA framework, OhioKAN serves families from the perspective that families are inherently capable of finding solutions to the circumstances and challenges they face, the OhioKAN program takes an inclusive, engaging, and genuine approach to strengthening families and their networks.
From this perspective, the program is designed to be strengths-based and the service level is directed by the family and Caregiver. During the BASICS conversation families are asked if they would like additional support and if they are willing to co-develop a Support Plan with the Navigator. Families are given the option to opt-in to Collaborate services and are not required to participate. In addition, families can conclude services at any time.
- Can the OhioKAN program model be implemented at the tribal, state, regional, agency or county level?
Yes, this model could be implemented at various levels of a system. The descriptions we provide about the regional and partnering site structures are descriptive rather than prescriptive. It is up to the implementing jurisdiction to identify a structure that would work best for them.