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Children in nonparental care: A review of the literature and analysis of data gaps

Vandivere, S., Yrausquin, A., Allen, T., et al. – 2012

A literature review of the topic of children in non-parental care. Defines different caregiver-child relationships in non-parental caregiving situations (primarily foster care and relative placement). Summarizes child demographics and non-parental caregiver characteristics in this population. Reasons for children entering non-parental care are broken into three main categories: parent is a danger to the child, parent is unavailable, and parent lacks resources. Subcategories for parental dangers include child maltreatment and parent mental illness, substance abuse, and cognitive deficits. Summarizes research on the health and well-being of children in this population, and lists factors that affect their well-being. Other topics discussed include legal status and duration of care, parental involvement, and children’s relationships with siblings and/or other children in the household. Also discusses access to support and services for the children and their caregivers. Summarizes findings and notes that further research on this topic is needed.