Vulnerable children fare well with relatives

January 21, 2009

Placing vulnerable children with relatives is a viable option, a new study by Cochrane Researchers suggests. In view of several recent high profile child abuse cases, the study may have important policy implications.

"We don't know what type of out-of-home care is best for children. But our research suggests that children placed with relatives do as well or better than those placed with foster parents," says lead researcher Marc Winokur, who works at the Social Work Research Center at Colorado State University in the US.

Reflecting changes in child welfare practice and policy around the world, a substantial proportion of children removed from the home for abuse or neglect during the past twenty years have been placed with relatives. In 2005, almost 125,000 children in the US were formally placed with kin while there has been an increase in children cared for by family and friends in England from 6% in 1989 to 12% in 2005. Despite this trend, little research has been carried out on the impact of so called 'kinship care' as compared with traditional foster care - placing children with unrelated foster parents.

Researchers reviewed data from 62 studies on children in out-of-home placements. They found children in kinship care experienced fewer behavioural and mental health problems and had more stable placements than did children in foster care.

The researchers stress that each child's needs must still be assessed on a case by case basis. They say more rigorous studies need to be carried out to verify the results and establish how placement type affects educational and other outcomes.

Winokur notes that, along with these positive findings about kinship care, policy makers are likely to encourage its use because kinship care costs less to provide than foster care. However, he is keen to stress that foster care is not forgotten: "Foster care should continue to be an essential out-of-home care option, as children in these placements also experience positive outcomes and appropriate kinship placements are not always available."

Source: Wiley

Explore further: Experts recommend a shift in national priorities to prevent mental disorders among youth

Related Stories

Australia misses targets to improve Aboriginal lives

February 14, 2017

Australia is failing to improve Aboriginal lives, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Tuesday, as a new report showed the government missing key targets, including cutting child mortality and raising life expectancy.

Recommended for you

The ethics of tracking athletes' biometric data

January 18, 2017

(Medical Xpress)—Whether it is a FitBit or a heart rate monitor, biometric technologies have become household devices. Professional sports leagues use some of the most technologically advanced biodata tracking systems to ...

Study shows blood products unaffected by drone trips

December 7, 2016

In what is believed to be the first proof-of-concept study of its kind, Johns Hopkins researchers have determined that large bags of blood products, such as those transfused into patients every day, can maintain temperature ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.