Kinship Care: Fostering effective family and friends placements.Kinship Care: Fostering effective family and friends placements
Elaine Farmer and Sue Moyers Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2008 254 pages 25 [pounds sterling]
Reading reports, articles and chapters on child welfare research can be one of the most ponderous pon·der·ous
1. Having great weight.
2. Unwieldy from weight or bulk.
3. Lacking grace or fluency; labored and dull: a ponderous speech. See Synonyms at heavy. and tiresome tasks of an academic reviewer or children's services advocate. Unfortunately, many researchers appear to write solely for the audience of other researchers, focusing on arcane discussion of methodologies, thus rendering findings nearly incomprehensible to the average manager, practitioner or policy planner. Happily, Farmer and Moyers had a different purpose in mind when they wrote this important study on kinship care. In their introduction, the authors state: 'Information is urgently needed about the effects on children of placements with kin in order to enable local authorities to make informed decisions about where best to place children' (p 19).
This aim of providing information to local authorities is well fulfilled. The authors describe their research with such clarity and elegance that a host of readers from varied backgrounds can be enlightened and fascinated with the findings. In addition to more traditional quantitative research Quantitative research
Use of advanced econometric and mathematical valuation models to identify the firms with the best possible prospectives. Antithesis of qualitative research. , some qualitative research Qualitative research
Traditional analysis of firm-specific prospects for future earnings. It may be based on data collected by the analysts, there is no formal quantitative framework used to generate projections. is employed, which serves to create a rich narrative. This reviewer applauds the eminently readable manner in which the stories of children and caregivers alike seem to come to life. The combination of clarity of writing with human interest is compelling.
Farmer and Moyers focused on four authorities, providing descriptions of the varied ways in which kinship care is implemented from one to another. Several points were particularly surprising and interesting. The variability from authority to authority was notable in the areas of standards of care, the question of whether kin were licensed as foster carers or the types of social services social services
welfare services provided by local authorities or a state agency for people with particular social needs
social services npl → servicios mpl sociales provided to families and friend caregivers. The comparisons between supports to non-related foster carers and the kin caregivers covered a number of areas, including the nature and problems of children placed in each type of home, the financial situations, and the provision of planning and boundaries by the agency regarding parental contact.
It was amazing a·maze
v. a·mazed, a·maz·ing, a·maz·es
1. To affect with great wonder; astonish. See Synonyms at surprise.
2. Obsolete To bewilder; perplex.
v.intr. to this American reader to note some of the differences between the US and the UK in the way kinship care is implemented, and in the outcomes of the utilisation of kinship. As the authors point out, in the US, kinship care is used extensively with populations of colour, including African-American and Latino families. According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. Farmer and Moyers, in the UK children of 'minority' backgrounds are over-represented in non-related foster care, and children in kinship care are more likely to be with their Caucasian relatives, although some of the children are of mixed race. In the US, child welfare standards and state policies typically ask to have potential kinship placements explored before considering placement with non-related families. This appears not to be the case in the four authorities studied.
A particular strength of this study is the emphasis on the lived experience of the children. Not only are outcomes in the areas of emotional and behavioural problems discussed, other areas such as school attendance and performance, social behavior In biology, psychology and sociology social behavior is behavior directed towards, or taking place between, members of the same species. Behavior such as predation which involves members of different species is not social. and placement with siblings were also explored. There was attention paid to nuances of child well-being that are usually overlooked in such research. For instance, the authors looked at a subset of children (usually adolescents) who were placed with kin while younger siblings remained at home with their parents. They describe the worries of the young people about sisters and brothers who were no longer protected by their older sibling who is in care. This single point should generate some new practice concerns for social workers, about how to help process the guilt or anxiety of concerned youth, and whether to re-evaluate if the younger children are at risk. There are many other issues raised which should cause social workers to think more deeply about helping the children in kinship care.
Most of the children are cared for by grandparents. The authors describe the role discontinuity dis·con·ti·nu·i·ty
n. pl. dis·con·ti·nu·i·ties
1. Lack of continuity, logical sequence, or cohesion.
2. A break or gap.
3. Geology A surface at which seismic wave velocities change. , which occurs in the aging process of the caregivers, who lose their grandparental stance and have to assume the roles of parents, including discipline and engaging with school and other systems. Simultaneously, the caregivers have less available energy and resources for interaction with other grandchildren not in their care, or with their other adult children. Thus the kinship caregivers can become socially isolated, withdrawn from their aging peers and not fitting in with the younger people who parent their grandchildren's friends. The cumulative impact of issues such as overcrowding overcrowding
overcrowding of animal accommodation. Many countries now publish codes of practice which define what the appropriate volumetric allowances should be for each species of animal when they are housed indoors. Breaches of these codes is overcrowding. of the home, lack of financial resources, conflict with the parents of the children in their care, unmet support needs, and so on may affect the grandparents' ability to enjoy their elderhood and affect both health and marriages. The impact of kinship care on the caregivers is a particularly rich and illustrative section of the book.
If the aim of the authors was to inform local authorities of salient issues in kinship care they have far exceeded their mark. The book is well illustrated with tables and charts. In my opinion, it has potential impact in a far wider range than being targeted to managers and policy makers. It would be a most effective tool for social work education and training. I can envision students poring through the findings to develop practice strategies for working with the children in care, or proposing innovative programmes to support the caregivers. With the beautifully crafted vignettes of children and caregivers, it seems possible that a latter-day Dickens could discover the germ of novels in the stories contained within. Elaine Farmer and Sue Moyers have served the field well in this exceptional book on kinship care research.
reviewed by Emily Jean McFadden
Emily Jean McFadden is Professor of Social Work, Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, Michigan “Grand Rapids” redirects here. For other uses, see Grand Rapids (disambiguation).
Grand Rapids is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 197,800. , USA