Quality of care study of 76 kinship and 105 non -kinship foster children
Jenkins, Mary Honoria
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This explorative/descriptive study examines the quality of foster care provided for a non-random sample of foster children in 1996. Care provided by kinship foster parents, or relatives of foster children, was compared with that of non-kinship foster parents in two of New York City's 68 voluntary contract foster care agencies.;The study follows the explosion in demand for foster care in the City in the late 1980's. The foster care population doubled in size and kinship foster care grew from 3,460 children to 23,960 by 12/1990. The importance of the study is related to the continued need for both types of foster care.;The study's methodology included identification of differences and similarities in New York State requirements for kinship and non-kinship foster parents, comparing demographics of foster parents and foster children, and comparisons of the quality of care provided by kinship and non-kinship foster parents. Foster parents' applications, children's case records, and medical records for 1996 were used for the study.;Significant differences between kinship and non-kinship foster parents were found in language spoken in homes and marital and employment status. Significant differences between kinship and non-kinship foster children were found with regard to placement in kinship and non-kinship foster homes, and length of stay in foster care.;The study items measured the quality of foster parents' care by combining 11 New York State requirements for foster parents with 11 modified Child Well-Being Scales of Magura and Moses (1986). Eighty foster parents were evaluated for whether they met 181 foster children's needs for physical, dental and mental health care, problem recognition, household sanitation, personal hygiene, adequate sleepspace, cooperation with case planning/services, acceptance/affection, academic performance, school attendance and foster family relations.;Significantly poor, problematic quality care was provided by more kinship than non-kinship foster families in the areas of dental health care, mental health care, recognition of problems, overcrowded sleepspace conditions, and cooperation with case planning/services. Recommendations are made to improve poor quality care by kinship and non-kinship foster parents.