Informal and Formal Kinship Care. Imputing characteristics for the "unobserved" informal kinship population


Table 4.3 follows the format of Table 4.2, but for a much shorter list of characteristics and different comparison groups. For the most part, this Illinois analysis is based on the premise that the Illinois AFDC/Relative population is representative of all informal foster care in the state. With Table 4.3, we start to indicate where the biases in such an assumption may reside. This table starts with the 1990 census tabulations for the numbers of children living in households with relative caregivers and no parent present. By subtracting the AFDC/Relative population and the Kin/FC population from this total, we are left with counts of the "residual" informal kinship population.

This "unobserved" group contains 57 percent of the kinship care population of Illinois for 1990. We assume the percentage would become smaller by 1995 (because of the rapid growth of Kin/FC), but cannot guess whether the Kin/FC cases were likely to have been drawn from this "unobserved" group or from children living in own-child of parent relationships. Only a slight majority of the Non-AFDC informal population resides in Cook County -- this group includes only one-half of Cook County kinship care children and over two-thirds of kinship care children from the remainder of the state. Finally, as referred to above, this group contains an even smaller percentage of children ages 0-5 than the AFDC/Relative group.

We can observe that this "unobserved" informal kinship group includes children who tend to be older and less "urban" than the AFDC/Relative group. Because they are not program participants, we can assume that in the aggregate this population has at least a somewhat greater access to financial support. We can make no inferences about race, gender, or more detailed age characteristics.

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