Term Paper: Child Foster Care

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Foster Care

Kang, H. (2007). Theoretical Perspectives for Child Welfare Practice on Kinship Foster Care Families in Society 88 (4): 575-82

Kinship foster care is defined as "out-of-home placement with relatives of children who are in the custody of state and local child welfare agencies." As a result, numerous studies have been conducted on kinship care, and various policy and practice principles have supported this approach. However, in the report Kang stated that all research and practice and policy supports for kinship care have been conducted without well-conceived theoretical support. The main purpose of the paper, therefore, was to provide expanded theoretical discussions about kinship foster care and the motivations of kin caregivers. The report was written to help researchers organize their findings and guide future research directions by reviewing the various theories regarding kinship foster care. For example, as the social capital theory hypothesizes, African-American extended family culture has demonstrated the advantage of dense social networks and familial continuity of kinship. Some qualitative studies have also reported that kinship care offers children psychological and familial stability and attachment. Further, empirical data have indicated that kin caregivers appear to have more psychological commitment than nonkin caregivers, but they do not assure that this commitment results in a higher level of investment of kin caregivers' time and human and financial capital. Previous studies show that kin foster caregivers have less financial and human capital, and fewer social services than non-kin foster caregivers, which is problematic. Although more research evidence is needed, this study concluded that kinship care cannot be sustained by family duty alone, but requires financial compensation as well.

Lewis, E.E., Dozier, M., Ackerman, J., & Sepuulveda-Kozakowski, S. (2007) the Effect of Placement Instability on Adopted Children's Inhibitory Control Abilities and Oppositional Behavior. Developmental Psychology, 43(6) 1415-1427.

The authors examined the impact of placement instability on children's inhibitory control abilities and caregiver-rated behavior. They were especially concerned about the influence of placement instability on child oppositional behavior. The study consisted of children who never were placed in foster care, adopted children with a stable placement prior to adoption, and adopted children with multiple foster placements. The authors hypothesized that children with placement instability as infants and toddlers would demonstrate poorer inhibitory control abilities and more caregiver-rated oppositional behavior when they were the ages of 5 and 6 compared with other children. Consistent with their hypotheses, children with placement instability showed poorer inhibitory control abilities and higher levels of caregiver-rated oppositional behavior compared with both non-adopted and adopted children with more stable caregiving. These findings suggest that children who have experienced several foster placements are especially at risk for not developing proper inhibitory and behavioral control. This deficit can lead to numerous problems including not being able to adjust to the demands faced at school. Early caregiving relationships play a critical role in helping children develop self-regulatory abilities, including inhibitory control.

Linares, L.O., Li, M., Shrout, P.E., Brody, G.H., & Pettit, G.S. (2007) Placement Shift, Sibling Relationship Quality, and Child Outcomes in Foster Care: A Controlled Study

Journal of Family Psychology. 21(4) 736-743

According to Child Welfare League of America standards, placing siblings together in the same home is the best option for sibling groups entering foster care. This standard is based on the recognition that sibling relationships serve as important contexts for both individual development and family functioning. This study examined placement shifts or changes over time and the impact on child… [END OF PREVIEW]

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