Date of Paper

5-2012

Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

msw

Department

socialwork

First Advisor

Lance T. Peterson

Abstract

The overrepresentation of African Americans in kinship care placements has become a growing concern over the last decade. A review of available literature has found that African American children in kinship care arrangements, especially those being cared for by grandparents, are more susceptible to mental health and academic deficiencies than those in other foster care arrangements (Ghuman, Weist, and Shafer, 1999). A quantitative and qualitative survey designed for professionals working in child welfare was administered in regards to the perceptions of child outcomes of African Americans in grandparent-headed kinship care arrangements within the foster care system. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to evaluate the findings. Additionally, the findings from one open-ended qualitative question as well as additional comments from all survey questions were carefully analyzed, coded, and organized into themes for qualitative data. The literature reviewed and the data obtained from the interview contained somewhat different findings. Although the majority of respondents agreed that children in kinship care arrangements have more positive outcomes in life than those in non-familial placements, themes such as reluctance in accessing resources and services, lack of trust in social service agencies, acceptance of behavioral problems, and health and quality of care among caregivers were all considered significant factors that contributed to the overall well-being of those in kinship care placements. Further research is needed to implement practices that will effectively provide services and resources to kinship caregivers that encourage them to utilize what is available to them in order to provide children with even better outcomes in kinship foster care placements.

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