The continuum of care describes a range of alternative care options for children who have been separated from parental care. In keeping with evidence-based guidance from around the world, the continuum places highest priority on care within families. This includes reunification with birth parent(s), placement with a relative (kinship care), foster care, and adoption.
The continuum recognizes the role that temporary residential care and small group homes can play in the spectrum of options to meet individual situations and needs. Large-scale institutions, however, are not included as a viable option, as research has shown they fail to provide the individualized care and relationships essential to healthy development.
Important principles within the continuum of care include:
- The importance of family in the life of a child.
- Gatekeeping to assess each child’s needs and circumstances (including options for family care) and to prevent unnecessary or long-term placement in formal residential care.
- Family-strengthening and support to address causes of separation.
- Engaging children in developmentally appropriate ways in the decisions impacting their lives.
- Permanency to establish family connections and placement options to provide a lifetime of commitment, continuity of care, and a legal and social status.
Webinar 2: The Continuum of Care
This instructional webinar looks at the range of alternative care for children who have been separated from parental care and will emphasize family care. Alternative care includes: kinship care, foster care, adoption, and formal residential care such as temporary rehabilitative care and small group homes. Large-scale institutional care is not recommended. This webinar looks at the importance of transitioning children to family care through reunification or alternative family care whenever possible. Key resources used and discussed in this webinar include A Continuum of Care for Orphans and Vulnerable Children and Children, Orphanages, and Families: A Summary of Research to Help Guide Faith-Based Action.