During the past two decades, child welfare professionals have given kinship care priority as the preferred least restrictive, most family-like placement option when a child has to be removed from his or her family. However, the available literature lacks investigation into what factors drive the decision to use kinship care, specifically an understanding of why some children are diverted from child welfare system (CWS) into unpaid kinship arrangements while other children enter the traditional foster care system. This study uses baseline (Wave 1) data from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-being II (NSCAW II), which provides information about children and caregivers in different types of kinship care. The data were analyzed using multinomial logistic regression based on the multiple imputed data files using NSCAW II weights. Results show important predictors of a child being diverted into private kinship care included the child’s age, caseworker’s educational background, and caseworker’s assessment of harm level. Important predictors of a child being diverted into voluntary kinship care included the maltreatment type, family structure, caseworker’s educational background, and caseworker’s assessment of risk level. Differentiating between the types of kinship diversion has important implications for practice and policy. Examining a variety of factors can help child welfare scholars develop a comprehensive understanding of the decision-making processes used in selecting kinship diversion for out-of-home placements.
- kinship diversion
- private kinship care
- voluntary kinship care
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science