Current policy in the child welfare system encourages children to be placed with kin when removed from abusive and neglectful homes. The intuitive policy assumes connection with families provides more stability for children compared to placement into other foster care arrangements, and in particular, African American children are disproportionately placed with kin. Yet, little research examines characteristics of kin placements that promote child well-being. Using national data on African American children and adolescents placed into foster care, this study finds placement with older kin in poor health relates with more behavior problems over time, while mental health problems continue regardless of placement status. Findings emphasize the importance for child welfare to assess the suitability of out-of-home placement options and make placement decisions that promote child well-being.
Project: Child & Youth Well-Being