Behavior Problems of Children in Kinship Care

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Abstract

ABSTRACT. An increasing number of children needing out-of-home care are being placed with relatives. Despite this pervasive policy, there has been scant research on children in this arrangement called kinship care. The objectives of this study were (1) to assess the behavior of children in kinship care and (2) to identify predictors of their behavior. The caregivers of 346 children in kinship care completed the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). Background information was obtained from caregivers and caseworkers. Forty-two percent of boys and 28% of girls had overall CBCL scores in the clinical range, compared with an expected 10% in the general population. Logistic regressions revealed several variables significantly associated with behavior problems including: reason for placement, gender, race, caregiver's perception of the child, caregiver's educational level, number of contacts between caregiver and caseworker, long-term plan, and child's age. The frequent behavior problems among these high-risk children in kinship care suggest they all deserve mental health evaluations; at a minimum, periodic screening is indicated. J Dev Behav Pediatr 14:386–393, 1993. Index terms: kinship care, foster care, behavior.

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