Matched Comparison of Children in Kinship Care and Foster Care on Child Welfare Outcomes

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Colorado State University

This study compared permanency, safety and stability outcomes for 318 "matched" pairs of children placed in either kinship care or foster care in 12 Colorado counties. Researchers matched the children on controlled-for demographic and placement characteristics. All children spent more than 60 days in out-of-home care.

The children in kinship care had fewer out-of-home placements and were seven times more likely to find a permanent placement. Outcomes were comparable for the kinship care group whether they were in paid or unpaid kinship care.

In contrast, the children in the foster care group were 10 times as likely to have a new allegation of abuse or neglect made on their behalf, six times as likely to become involved with the juvenile justice system, and twice as likely to be reunified with their biological parents.

The researchers call for a greater commitment by child welfare professionals, policymakers and researchers to making kinship care a viable out-of-home placement option for children and families.

The study appeared in the July/September 2008 issue of Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services. Free, 9 pages. (414) 359-6521,