• September 2017
  • Vol. 18, No. 6

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New Research on the Characteristics, Needs of Kinship Adoptive Families

A literature review article in a recent issue of the journal Adoption Quarterly focuses on the latest research on placement decisions and outcomes for children adopted by relatives. The article, "Foster Care to Kinship Adoption: The Road Less Traveled," reviews theoretical perspectives, demographic characteristics, and the social policy context for kinship care and also provides a review of empirically based, peer-reviewed articles.

The authors note that the prevalence of kinship placements and/or adoption has been steadily increasing since the 1990s and lead to better outcomes for children in foster care. The following are among the key findings highlighted in the article:

  • Most children in informal kinship care situations are being raised by their grandparents or great-grandparents, followed by aunts or uncles, with the age of these caregivers ranging from 40 to 60 years.
  • The primary reason children are placed in kinship care is child neglect, often involving substance use by a parent.
  • Research has shown that kinship foster families receive fewer services and supports in areas such as mental health, mentoring, and financial services than unrelated foster families, which suggests a greater need for postadoptive services for kinship parents.

Since placement patterns are increasingly showing a shift in responsibility for children from parents to their relatives, the authors conclude that more research should be conducted to explore the needs of kinship adopters to determine the services and programs that can be tailored to their unique circumstances.

"Foster Care to Kinship Adoption: The Road Less Traveled," by Rebecca L. Hegar and Maria Scannapieco (Adoption Quarterly, 20) is available through https://www.researchgate.net/publication/294104882_Foster_Care_to_Kinship_Adoption_The_Road_Less_Traveled.

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