Differences between Kinship and Non-Kinship Foster Care in Placement Characteristics, Foster Parents, Biological Parents, and Psychosocial Functioning of Foster Children: a Meta-Analysis

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


This meta-analytic study examined risk and protective factors of kinship and non-kinship foster care and the degree to which these factors were associated with psychosocial functioning of the foster children. Methods A total of 35 studies, comprising 49,986 participants, were included. Effect sizes were computed from differences between kinship and non-kinship foster care in characteristics of the foster parents, biological parents and foster children as well as placement characteristics. Subsequently, these effect sizes were used to predict differences in social and cognitive development and psychopathology between foster children placed in kinship and non-kinship for care. Results The results show that children placed in kinship foster care were exposed to less protective factors and more risk factors (e.g., unsafety, lower SES, ethnic minority background, less professional support) than non-kinship foster care. Despite these less positive findings for kinship care, more placement disruptions, higher rates of psychopathology and lower levels of social functioning were found with foster children placed in non-kinship foster care. Less employment and more absence of biological parents in kinship care compared to non-kinship care were associated with smaller differences in children’s psychopathology between kinship and non-kinship foster care. Conclusions Several risks are present in kinship foster homes and this asks, especially in situations with seriously disturbed foster children, for a careful matching process. Selective placement may explain less positive psychosocial outcomes in children placed in non-kinship foster care, and subsequently higher disruption rates.
Date of Award31 Jan 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Amsterdam
SupervisorJohan Vanderfaeillie (Promotor) & G.J.J.M. Stams (Promotor)

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