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Kids Living With Relatives Have Fewer Problems Than Those in Foster Homes
Date:6/2/2008

Study says kinship care deserves more funding for estimated 2.5 million displaced children

MONDAY, June 2 (HealthDay News) -- Children removed from their homes due to mistreatment have fewer behavioral problems if they're placed with relatives -- called kinship care -- than if they're placed in foster care, a new study says.

The study, by researchers at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, looked at 1,309 children who entered out-of-home care between 1999 and 2000. Of those children, 599 were placed in kinship care, and 710 were placed in foster care. Of those in foster care, 17 percent moved to kinship care after at least one month in foster care.

Interviews were conducted with the children, caregivers, birth parents, child welfare workers and teachers at the start of the study and again at 18 months and 36 months later.

The study found that 32 percent of children immediately placed in kinship care had behavioral problems 36 months later, compared with 39 percent of children who moved from foster care to kinship care, and 46 percent of children who stayed in foster care.

Children in kinship care were less likely to change placements frequently. At 36 months, 58 percent of those in kinship care had achieved a sustained placement or were reunified with their parents, compared with 32 percent of children in foster care. The study also found that 58 percent of children who started in foster care but switched to kinship care reunified with their parents within 45 days, compared with 40 percent of children who stayed in foster care.

The study was published in the June issue of the journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

"Placement stability is a common goal of child welfare systems and has consistently been shown to result in better outcomes for all children living in out-of-home care," Dr. David M. Rubin and colleagues wrote.

"This finding supports effor
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