Data show that the well-being of kinship caregivers is generally lower than that of non-kin foster parents. Kinship caregivers experience a variety of economic, health, and emotional difficulties and often have difficulty making ends meet. For example, they are more likely than non-kin foster parents to borrow money from friends, to be without tel
Almost all studies that have collected data on the income of kinship caregivers have found that they are significantly poorer than non-kin foster parents (Barth et al., 1994; Beeman et al., 1996; Berrick et al., 1994; Brooks and Barth, 1998; Chipungu et al., 1998; Gebel, 1996; Geen and Clark, 1999; Le Prohn, 1994; Zimmerman et al., 1998). For exam
While data are limited, they indicate that fewer children and fewer persons live in public kinship care households than in non-kin foster homes (Chipungu et al., 1998; Dubowitz et al., 1993). Public kinship caregivers are more likely to be the only adult in their household, and they are more likely to care for only one child, whereas non-kin foste
It appears that kinship care (both public and private) is more common in central cities than in rural or metropolitan areas (Beeman et al., 1996; Cook and Ciarico, 1998; Harden et al., 1997). However, at least for private kinship care, this appears to be largely because African American families are more heavily concentrated in the central cities
Kinship caregivers (both private and public) appear to be much more likely than non-kin foster parents to be single (Barth et al., 1994; Beeman et al., 1996; Bonecutter and Gleeson, 1997; Chipungu and Everett, 1994; Chipungu et al., 1998; Dubowitz, 1990; Gaudin and Sutphen, 1993; Gebel, 1996; Geen and Clark, 1999; Le Prohn, 1994; Pecora et al., 19
African American children are disproportionately represented in the foster care population. Further, children in public kinship care are far more likely than children in non-kin foster care to be African American (Altshuler, 1998; Berrick et al., 1995; Bonecutter and Gleeson, 1997; Cook and Ciarico, 1998; Dubowitz, 1990; Geen and Clark, 1999; Grog
Most studies that have collected data on the age of kinship caregivers have found that, on average, they are older than non-kin foster parents, with a dramatic difference in the number of caregivers over age 60 (Barth et al., 1994; Berrick et al., 1994; Chipungu et al., 1998; Davis et al., 1996; Gaudin and Sutphen, 1993; Gebel, 1996; Geen and Clar
Children in public kinship care are more likely than children in non-kin foster care to be younger and African American. 28 Public kinship caregivers are more likely than non-kin foster parents to be older, African American, single, and never married. They are also more likely to live in poverty and to be less well educated.
Report to the Congress on Kinship Foster Care. Characteristics of Kinship Caregivers and Their Households
The characteristics of public and private kinship caregivers and children differ significantly from those of non-kin foster families.
In private kinship care arrangements, as well as agency-involved public care, birth parents typically retain custody of their children, often affording kinship caregivers more limited decision-making authority than non-kin foster parents. Without legal custody, kin lack the authority to take important actions such as enrolling a child in school, s
Unlike non-kin foster parents, kinship caregivers usually receive little, if any, advance preparation for their role. In all States, non-kin foster parents are required to complete a rigorous training program before the State will license them. Such training helps future foster parents understand the needs of abused or neglected children and emp
While both public kinship and non-kin foster parents care for children whom the state may need to protect, the circumstances leading to placement appear to be different. For example, children in public kinship care are more likely to have been removed from a parent’s home because of abuse or neglect, as opposed to parent-child conflict or a beha
Report to the Congress on Kinship Foster Care. Chapter 3 How Do Kinship Families Differ from Non-Kin Foster Care Families?
Kinship care is by definition different from non-kin foster care because the caregivers are related to or have a prior relationship with the children in their care. As one expert has noted, “To view kinship care as simply a form of foster care ignores the unique dynamics and varied definition of family within a multi-cultural context. Kinship ca
This chapter includes all available information on two of the items for which Congress specifically requested information: the costs and sources of funds for kinship care and State policies regarding kinship care. Listed below are additional information needed and potential sources of this information.
Together, Federal and State policies create a maze of varying kinship care definitions, policies, and practices.
Report to the Congress on Kinship Foster Care. State Implementation of Recent Federal Policy Changes
Because States are still implementing programs to reflect recent Federal policy changes, it is uncertain how these policy changes will affect kinship care families. States that have received IV-E waivers must undergo rigorous evaluation of the demonstration program they develop. Because these waivers are relatively new, however, it may be several
Passed in 1997, ASFA is one of the first pieces of Federal legislation that acknowledges the unique position of kin within the foster care system. The law differentiates between public kinship care and non-kin foster care in two ways. First, it clearly indicates that “a fit and willing relative” could provide a “planned permanent living arra
Report to the Congress on Kinship Foster Care. Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act
Although PRWORA is known as the legislation that reshaped the nation’s cash assistance landscape, it may also have a significant impact on kinship care. Under PRWORA, Congress required States to “consider giving preference to an adult relative over a non-related caregiver when determining a placement for a child, provided that the relative car
In 1994, through amendments to the Social Security Act, Congress gave the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) authority to approve child welfare demonstration projects that waive certain federal legislative and regulatory requirements under titles IV-E and IV-B. These demonstration projects allowed up to 10 States to test the effectivenes
Three recent Federal laws are likely to affect kinship care: congressional amendments to the Social Security Act, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), and the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (ASFA).