• July/August 2001
  • Vol. 2, No. 4

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New Findings on the Status of Children Cared For by Relatives

A new study looks at the phenomenon of children who live with relatives other than their parents. Prepared by the Urban Institute and based on data from the 1997 National Survey of American Families, the study attempts to gauge how these children are doing.

According to the study, there are 1.8 million children nationwide living in three types of "kinship care":

  • Private kinship care (1.3 million children)—Children being cared for by relatives without involvement of a public child welfare agency
  • Kinship foster care (200,000 children)—Children taken into custody by the State and placed by child welfare in the care of a relative
  • Voluntary kinship care (300,000 children)—Children reported to child protective services who were not taken into State custody but whose parents agreed to place them in the care of relatives.

The study also found that 20 percent of children in kinship care live in precarious socioeconomic conditions and that despite their eligibility, relatively few children in kinship care receive benefits and services to which they are entitled.

Although research shows that abused and neglected children who are placed with relatives suffer less trauma, they still face risks, according to this study. "Child welfare administrators should make sure kinship caregivers get what they need to care for these vulnerable kids—such as adequate training, access to benefits for which they are eligible, and better support services," said study co-author Rob Green.

Access the study online at: http://newfederalism.urban.org/html/series_b/b28/b28.html.

A PDF version is available online at: http://newfederalism.urban.org/pdf/anf_b28.pdf

Related Item

Search the documents database on the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information website (http://basis.caliber.com/cwig/ws/library/docs/gateway/SearchForm) for information related to kinship care.

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