What Are the Important Differences Among Kinship Foster Families?


Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago

This study looked at family structure and household composition of families providing kinship care, in an effort to determine what is best for the foster children.

It distinguished four kinds of kinship foster families: empty-nest grandparents, parenting grandparents, non-grandparent relatives with some children (few if any children in the home) and parenting non-grandparents (likely to have one or more other children in the home). Different factors among these types include the age of caregivers, perceived fostering competence and the physical distance between foster children and their respective birth families.

According to a table from the report, parenting grandparents who were closest in proximity to the foster children’s birth homes were the least likely to provide a safe environment for the children. Empty-nest grandparents caring for children near the homes of their biological parents were the most likely to provide a safe living space for children.

Contrary to the notion that all kinship foster families are alike, there are significant differences in family attributes and situations that affect the development of foster children. Free.


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