Research has shown that, overall, children in foster care experience more stability and better outcomes when they are placed with relative caregivers. Children placed with kin are also more likely to experience fewer placement disruptions and exhibit improved behavior.

Children in kinship care experience better outcomes in regard to behavior problems, adaptive behaviors, psychiatric disorders, well-being, placement stability, number of placements, guardianship and institutional abuse than other children in foster care.

    • Winokur, M.A., Holtan, A., & Batchelder, K. E. (2018). Systematic review of kinship care effects on safety, permanency, or well- being. Research on Social Work Practice, 28(1), 19-32.

Children in kinship care are less likely to experience placement disruption than children in non-kinship placements in foster care.

    • Koh, E. (2010). Permanency outcomes of children in kinship and non-kinship foster care: Testing the external validity of kinship effects. Children and Youth Services Review, 32(3), 389-398.

Findings from one study indicate that about 25 percent of children placed in out-of-home care experience some form of disruption, and that being placed with kin decreased the likelihood of disruption for the majority of the children.

    • Helton, J.J. (2011). Children with behavioral, non-behavioral, and multiple disabilities, and the risk of out-of-home placement disruption. Child Abuse & Neglect, 35(11), 956-964.

Older children in kinship care had significantly lower levels of externalizing, internalizing and overall behavior problems.

    • Wu, Q., White, K.R., & Coleman, K. (2015). Effects of kinship care on behavioral problems by child age: A propensity score analysis. Children and Youth Services Review, 57, 1-8

Average number of foster care placements children experience could be effectively reduced by placing them with relatives at entry to care, which would provide the stability of a relative’s home without a subsequent change in placement.

    • Zinn, A., DeCoursey, J., Goerge, R.M., & Courtney, M.E. (2006). A study of placement stability in Illinois. Chapin Hall.

A research summary is available here.