Children in Nonparental Care: A Review of the Literature and Analysis of Data Gaps


Typically, one or two parents and a child–along with any siblings–comprise a family, and the parents’ interactions with the child are a primary driver of the child’s development. Yet nearly 4 percent of U.S. children (nearly 3 million) live in homes with no parent present. This literature review summarizes the research on children who live apart from their parents and identifies gaps in knowledge regarding this vulnerable population. This literature review was developed as a step toward designing the National Survey of Children in Nonparental Care, a nationally representative telephone survey of adults caring for these children, data for which will be available in 2014.

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