Kinship care for children removed from home due to maltreatment

Kinship care is full-time care by relatives, tribe members, godparents, or other adults who are not a child’s parents but who have a kinship bond with a child. Children may be placed in kinship care through a child welfare agency or through private arrangements as an alternative to placement with unrelated foster parents ().

Expected Beneficial Outcomes (Rated)

  • Increased foster care placement stability

  • Improved mental health

  • Improved child behavior

Evidence of Effectiveness

There is strong evidence that children in kinship care fare better than similar children in non-kinship care. Kinship care results in more stable placement, fewer mental health issues for the child, and development of more competent, adaptive behavior by the child than non-kinship care ().

A UK-based study suggests that kin carers feel more committed to the child than non-kin carers, and are more likely to continue caring for the child despite behavioral problems and other difficulties. Placements with grandparents may be especially likely to last. Supervision while children visit their parents may also improve kinship placement stability ().

Impact on Disparities

No impact on disparities likely

Implementation Examples

Recognition of kinship caregiving increased substantially after the Supreme Court ruled in 1979 that states must pay relatives the foster care board rate if they become licensed foster parents. However, there is still great variation in how extensively states use kinship foster homes ().

Citations - Evidence

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Cochrane-Winokur 2009* - Winokur M, Holtan A, Valentine D. Kinship care for the safety, permanency, and well-being of children removed from the home for maltreatment. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2009;(1):CD006546.

Farmer 2010* - Farmer E. What factors relate to good placement outcomes in kinship care? British Journal of Social Work. 2010;40(2):426-44.

Citations - Implementation Examples

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Hegar 2009* - Hegar RL, Rosenthal JA. Kinship care and sibling placement: Child behavior, family relationships, and school outcomes. Children and Youth Services Review. 2009;31(6):670-9.

Date Last Updated

Apr 30, 2013