Children in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Child-Only Cases with Relative Caregivers. 2.5.3 Relative Care Offers Stability

06/01/2004

Placement stability for children in out-of-home care has long been a concern of researchers (Bernstein, 2002; Webster, Barth, and Needell, 2000; Anderson-Moore, Vandivere, and Ehrle, 2000). With each change in placement, children may experience an increased sense of rejection and impermanence. Nearly 30 percent of children in kinship care through the child welfare system experience placement instability, defined as three or more moves after the first year in care (Webster, Barth, and Needell, 2000). This does not appear to be the case, however, with children in TANF child-only relative care. Over 90 percent of relative caregivers for TANF child-only cases in South Carolina reported that they would like to raise the child (or children) placed with them until the age of 18 (Edelhoch, 2002). A study in New Jersey found that, although the lives of children in child-only families have been disrupted by removal from the home, their relative care placements are typically long term and stable (Wood and Strong, 2002). Investigation of North Carolina's child-only cases found that 82 percent of the nonparental child-only cases reported children having lived with the caregiver continuously since last living with the biological parent (Duncan, 2002).

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