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child, the child’s parents or the larger family system that serve to increase stability due to a solid
commitment to continue to parent the child despite challenges. 28 Alternatively, it is possible that a
kinship foster placement may not elicit as many behavioral difficulties in the child as a non-relative
foster placement. 29 Children may have an easier transition into kinship care, not prompting as
many adjustment difficulties, which may manifest as behavior problems. Additionally, based on
premises of attachment theory, children may be less prone to act out if they had a previously
established relationship with the kinship foster parent. 30
Characteristics of stability and permanence found in kinship placements lead to children
having a greater sense of family, belonging, and inclusion in the community, factors that have a
positive influence on their well-being. 31 Permanence in child welfare systems can be defined in
multiple manners, including reunification with biological parents or alternate permanency options,
such as legal guardianship or adoption. 32 Legal permanence, which varies by jurisdiction based on
policies and practices that promote or prevent the achievement of legal permanence for children
in kinship foster homes, is not the topic of this paper. Rather, the focus is on facilitation of
psychological permanency for foster children. This includes the notion that youth in kinship foster
care have a sustaining connection with a supportive family as they progress toward adulthood and
transition out of the foster care system. 33 Children in kinship foster care are more likely than
children placed in non-relative foster care to report liking those with whom they live and wanting
their placement to become their permanent home. 34 Kinship care can assist with establishment and
maintenance of lifetime relationships for the child, which can provide an ongoing support network
into adulthood. 35 To achieve psychological permanency, kinship caregivers must attend to the
social and emotional competencies and challenges of foster youth in order to develop and maintain
close and connected relationships. Even with relatives, these relationships take purposeful effort
to cultivate and sustain a lasting connection. 36 This is especially important for transition-age foster
youth who require continued support and connection as they launch into adulthood and become
Marc Winokur, Amy Holtan, and Keri Batchelder examined the well-being of children in
kinship care. 22 This meta-analysis included 102 quasi-experimental studies. 37 Review of these
28 O’Brien, supra note 21, at 131-135.
29 Id. at 132.
30 Sarah A. Font, Kinship and Nonrelative Foster Care: The Effect of Placement Type on Child Well-Being, 85 CHILD
DEV. 2074, 2076 (2014).
31 Montserrat, supra note 17, at 374.
32 Koh, supra note 10, at 389-90.
33 Gerald P. Malon, Tools for Permanency, Tool 4: Kinship Care, NAT’L RES. CTR. FOR FAMILY-CENTERED
PRACTICE & PERMANENCY PLANNING 1-3, 8-9 (2009),
34 U.S. Dep’t of Health & Hum. Servs., Administration for Children and Families, National Survey of Child and
Adolescent Well-Being, CPS Sample Component Wave 1 Data Analysis Report 7-20 (Apr. 2005),
35 ELAINE FARMER & SUE MOYERS, KINSHIP CARE: FOSTERING EFFECTIVE FAMILY AND FRIENDS PLACEMENTS 160-
161 (Mike Stein & Caroline Thomas, eds. 2009).
36 DENBY, supra note 3, at 1-38.
37 MARC WINOKUR, AMY HOLTAN, & KERI BATCHELDER., KINSHIP CARE FOR THE SAFETY, PERMANENCY, AND WELL-
BEING OF CHILDREN REMOVED FROM THE HOME FOR MALTREATMENT (REVIEW), THE COCHRANE COLLABORATION:
COCHRAN DATABASE OF SYSTEMIC REV. 10 (Mar. 2014), available at