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Effects of kinship care on behavioral problems by child age: A propensity score analysis

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  • Wu, Qi
  • White, Kevin R.
  • Coleman, Kanisha L.

Abstract

When a child must be removed from the family home, placement with a relative is often sought because kinship care is the least restrictive and most family-like out-of-home placement. Although kinship care has become a preferred option in most U.S. child welfare systems, this preference is often based on “soft evidence” rather than rigorous evaluation of the risks and benefits of kinship care. Therefore, an evaluation of the impact of kinship care on child behavioral problems is needed to guide child welfare practice and policy. In addition, given that children of different ages and in different developmental stages are likely to have varying placement experiences, the evaluation of kinship care should explore the effect of kinship care on child behavioral problems across age groups. To fill these knowledge gaps, we compare the behavioral problems of 584 children in kinship care with those of 470 children in non-kinship care. Moreover, we examine the impact of kinship care on behavioral problems in 2 age groups: younger children (0 to 5years) and older children (6 to 17.5years). The analysis uses data from Waves 1 and 2 of the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Wellbeing, and applies propensity score methods to account for selection bias. Results show that older children in kinship care had significant lower levels of externalizing, internalizing, and total behavior problems. However, for younger children, the effects of kinship care on child behavioral problems did not reach statistical significance. The implications for practice, research and policy are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Wu, Qi & White, Kevin R. & Coleman, Kanisha L., 2015. "Effects of kinship care on behavioral problems by child age: A propensity score analysis," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 1-8.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:cysrev:v:57:y:2015:i:c:p:1-8
    DOI: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2015.07.020
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Gleeson, James P. & Hsieh, Chang-ming & Cryer-Coupet, Qiana, 2016. "Social support, family competence, and informal kinship caregiver parenting stress: The mediating and moderating effects of family resources," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 32-42.
    2. Berrick, Jill Duerr & Hernandez, Julia, 2016. "Developing consistent and transparent kinship care policy and practice: State mandated, mediated, and independent care," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 24-33.
    3. Killos, Lydia F. & Vesneski, William M. & Pecora, Peter J. & Rebbe, Rebecca & Christian, Steve, 2018. "A national analysis of guardianship assistance policy and implementation," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 115-125.
    4. De Wet, Nicole, 2019. "The association between mother's socioeconomic status and non-orphan kinship care arrangements in South Africa," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 79-86.

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