The Family Navigator Program is part of the Department of Human Services (DHS) Differential Response approach to child protection. Through direct referral from the DHS Child Welfare Program, KLCAS Navigators work with families to meet the goals required to keep children in their homes or to reunite families whose children have been placed in foster care.
As described by DHS, “Differential Response moves away from a one-size-fits-all approach to child protection by adding an alternate response track.” Research has shown that this approach can result in:
- Fewer repeat cases of child abuse and neglect
- Lower placement rates of children in foster care
- Decreased proportionality among children of color in foster care
- Reduced costs over time
- Increased satisfaction by families and child welfare workers
Family Navigators assist families in identifying their strengths and needs while providing guidance to address immediate concerns, promote self-sufficiency, and establish long-term goals. The individual situation of each family is considered when developing services, which may include:
- Assistance with negotiating the government benefits system
- Networking with the community to obtain access to personal documents, household items, transportation, housing supports and other benefits as needed
- Providing information about and referrals to local resources
- Promoting education in money management, home safety, parenting, health and nutrition, and other skills as indicated
- Frequent face to face meetings to assess concerns and facilitate solutions
Family Navigators collaborate with each family for ninety days. These services are available only through referral from the DHS Child Welfare program.
For more information about Differential Response, visit the DHS website.