Maternal foster families provide more stable placements than paternal families

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Children and Youth Services Review, 46: 155-159

The use of kinship families to provide foster care has been increasing due to changes in legislation and the hope that it will provide better quality placements, but there has been little consideration of differential outcomes based on sub-types of kin. Using data from one Ontario, Canada, child protection agency we compared the frequency and stability of placements with maternal versus paternal kin. We found that maternal relatives provided placements much more often than paternal kin and this was most striking with single grandmothers. 90% of genetically related kinship caregivers were grandparents or other equally close kin. Maternal and paternal kin placements had similar durations, but maternal placements ended significantly more frequently by the child returning home or obtaining a permanent placement, whereas paternal placements more often broke down. A Cox proportional hazards analysis, controlling for child sex, age, reason for placement and caregiver attributes, showed that paternal kin placements were more than twice as likely to break down as maternal kin placements, within a given interval. We discuss whether placement stability should be considered a proxy for placement quality and policy implications, and we comment on aspects of assessing prospective placements.

Canadian CW research
Journal article