A selection of The Imprint’s most impactful stories from the past year
Ashley Boone is a licensed foster parent with expertise caring for higher-needs children, and an experienced social worker steeped in supporting kids who’ve been separated from their parents. So when Kandiyohi County removed her nephews into foster care and terminated their parents’ rights, the family thought she was the obvious choice to adopt them — especially since state law says childrens’ kin should be given priority.
Instead, the county blindsided Boone by approving an unrelated foster parent to raise the children. And unless a state appeals court decides differently, that is what will happen. Boone is Black and the foster mother is white, and Boone and her supporters say she has been a target of racial bias.
“When they get older, they’re going to wonder why family didn’t want them,” Boone said. In her family’s case, however, “It’s not for lack of us trying. We’re fighting so hard for them.”
In The Imprint’s two-part series Fighting for Kin, co-published with The Sahan Journal, we report on Boone’s struggle to keep her family together, the resistance she has faced, and what happens next.
The Biden administration has cleared the way for states to draw far more federal funding to support relatives and other kin who are caring for children in the foster care system.
The proposed regulatory changes are “the most important advance the federal government has made in kinship care policy in the last 40 years,” former university professor Mark Testa said.
Hoping to help states capitalize on the new rule, a group of kinship care advocates have developed model standards for them to build around.