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• Focus on formal and informal kinship (FKC, IKC) and non-relative foster care (NRFC)
• Lower risk of maltreatment investigation, but not substantiation, in FKC than NFRC
• The largest difference in risk between FKC and NRFC in the first three months of placement
• IKC has higher overall risk but lower monthly risk due to longer placement duration.
• Less than half of investigations alleged maltreatment by out-of-home caregiver.
Safety, or the absence of maltreatment, is the primary mandate of the child protection services (CPS) system, both for children living at home and those living away from home. Yet, few research studies have examined maltreatment in out-of-home care due to the low incidence rate and data limitations. This study used statewide administrative data to estimate the association between placement type and experiencing a maltreatment investigation or substantiation in out-of-home care. Over 6% of informal TANF-funded kinship placements experienced an investigation alleging maltreatment by an out-of-home caregiver, compared with just over 3% for formal kinship care and non-relative foster care. However, the monthly risk of maltreatment was lowest in informal kinship care because these placements tended to endure longer before maltreatment occurred. Substantiated maltreatment during an out-of-home placement was rare across all placement types. For both investigated and substantiated maltreatment, risk was highest in the first 3 months.
Journal: Children and Youth Services Review - Volume 54, July 2015, Pages 20–29