Friday, April 8, 2011

Student Guest Post: Resources for Kinship Care

by Christina Weber and Emily Brooks

This semester we have been exploring issues regarding adoption law. Recently, we read an article by Jill Duerr Berrick, titled When Children Cannot Remain Home:  Foster Family Care and Kinship Care. This article illustrated the differences in children being placed in kinship care versus non-kin care. Also, the article highlighted the differences with two groups in financial incentives, case worker care, and child protection. Overall the statistics show that kinship care receives less financial incentives and that kinship care is better for the child’s safety and well-being.

The financial resources and case worker care available to kinship care are limited and hard to find. Since 1979, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that kinship foster care should receive the same financial resources as non-kin foster care. In reality, kinship care does not receive anywhere close to the same resources that non-kin care receives. Specifically, case workers are less likely to contact kinship care; as a result they receive less support and fewer services.

Kinship care is statistically safer for children than non-kin care. Namely, researchers have discovered that non-kin foster parents are twice as likely to have confirmed reports of maltreatment. There can be many explanations for this statistic, but kinship care provides family support that non-kin care cannot. Kinship care preserves family ties which is very important to the stability of children. Consequently, states should take more action in providing resources for kinship care. Case workers should give as much attention and resources to kinship care as they do non-kin care. Statistics show the benefits of kinship care, so the states should acknowledge these benefits by providing more services.


Anonymous said...

Kinship care should be the preferred placement over stranger care when RU is not on the table.

I think one of the stumbling blocks is that the family believes that having an outside agency have control over the children will wake up the parents (hit rock bottom) and make a difference rather than stepping in too quick and essentially bailing out the parents.

This is further complicated by the system not designed to accomodate process family members quickly enough (and the child stays with the foster family and the bond strengthens there) and needs to function better on behalf of the child.

Anonymous said...

Have to take a bit of issue here with the sweeping generalizations stated based on one cited article.

Vague references to "statistics" and research hardly portent a serious discussion and/or article.

Statistics can be swayed and "experts" can be found to argue both sides of a philosophical debate.


Kinship care aside, please provide better access to your sources and a more balanced overview.