Evaluating Kinship Care Alternatives: A Comparison of a Private Initiative to Traditional State Services

Rodney A. Ellis, Gary D. Ellis, Rochelle Galey

Abstract


Multiple stressors on the child welfare system have forced innovative solutions
to the overburdened foster care program. A promising alternative is kinship
care, in which children are placed with biological relatives. Proponents cite the
opportunity to place the child in familiar surroundings, the natural access to additional
family resources, and the degree to which it is sensitive to the norms and values
of non-dominant cultural groups. Various models of kinship care have been
implemented in several jurisdictions, yet little or no research has been done to determine
which alternatives are the most effective. This paper addresses that deficit. It
reports the results of a study that compares stability of placement outcomes between
a program operated by a private,not-for-profit organization (n=60) and a more traditional
program (n=79) operated by a state child welfare agency. Results support
the use of the private alternative over the more traditional state-operated program.

Keywords


Kinship care, child welfare, foster care, at-risk children, children’s services, placement

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