Foster Children OK Kinship Care; See Placement as Long-Term Solution
Byline: Cheryl Wetzstein, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Foster children in "kinship care" spend more years in foster care and are less likely to be adopted or reunified with their parents than if they are placed with nonrelatives, a new report says.
But most of these children think it's just fine to live indefinitely with their relatives.
When foster children were asked whether they could imagine living in their current placements "until you're grown up," "almost 80 percent of the kids in kinship care said yes," said Urban Institute researcher Rob Geen, who just released several papers on kinship care.
"This rate is almost twice that of children in non-kin foster care," he said. The question appears on the Department of Health and Human Services' National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being, which is tracking children through the child-welfare system.
Kinship care, in which abused or neglected children are placed with their grandparents, aunts, elder siblings or other family members, is the second-most-common placement in the United States.
Of 542,000 children in foster care in September 2001, the biggest portion 260,384, or 48 percent were in the homes of nonrelatives, the most recent federal data show.
Twenty-four percent, or 130,869 children, were in relatives' homes. The rest of the children were in institutions, group homes, pre-adoptive homes, trial home visits, independent living programs, or listed as runaways.
Despite its popularity, kinship care which usually comes with monthly government subsidies for the child has been criticized as only a semipermanent solution for needy children. …