Permanency outcomes of children in foster care: an analysis of kinship and nonkinship foster care

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University of Alabama Libraries

This study examined permanency outcomes of children in custody of the Mississippi Department of Families and Children. Outcomes for children who were placed in kinship care were compared with outcomes of children placed in traditional foster care. Secondary data from years 2006-2008 were analyzed. Using a correlational design relying on secondary data, an analysis of the effect of placement type (kinship or nonkinship care) on placement outcome was examined. The outcome variables examined were reunification with parents, adoption, and emancipation or aging out of the system. The degree to which a relationship exists between demographic variables of age, ethnicity, and gender, and the type of placement was also examined. Street level bureaucracy theory provided a framework for the research and an explanation of factors influencing workers' decisions regarding placement for children. These decisions are often influenced by personal discretion, agency policy, and resources. This research provides knowledge addressing the outcomes of children placed in kinship or nonkinship settings that can be used to better inform social workers as they formulate plans of care. Findings of the study show that children in kinship care have higher rates of reunification with parents, but lower rates of adoption and emancipation than children in nonkinship care. Children in kinship care were also found to experience fewer placement disruptions as well as shorter lengths of stay compared to children in nonkinship care. Additional findings suggest different outcomes for African American children in placement when compared to those of other races. The findings of this study can be used to guide policy and practice decisions related to supporting children in kinship and nonkinship placement settings.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Social work, Social research, Public Policy and Social Welfare