Informal and Formal Kinship Care. Section V. Summary, Observations, and Suggestions


The information that has been presented in this report is neither complete nor sufficient -- indeed, it only starts to address the questions that we feel must be answered in order to understand the increasingly important subgroup of American children that are being cared for by relatives in the absence of a parent. The limitations of this report should stand as yet another signal that too much of the raw information that we need to understand the present conditions, patterns, and trends among children in our society is not available for analysis. Our capacity to make long-term policy decisions suffers greatly when we only partially understand the realities of the present.

Caveats aside, we also believe that the information contained in this report significantly extends our understanding of the nature of kinship caregiving in the United States and, in many ways, should serve well as a starting point and guide for continued progress in the development of knowledge on this topic.

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