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How Many Children Are in Kinship Foster Care?

children Foster Kinship
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How Many Children Are in Kinship Foster Care?

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In contrast to the 2002 NSAF estimate of 405,000 children in kinship foster care, the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS), the federal system for collecting data from states on the number of children in foster care, estimates that approximately 131,000 children lived in kinship foster care in September 2001. The federal estimate counts only those children who are also in the custody of the state, while the NSAF estimate includes all children for whom a court has made a relative responsible (figure 1).2 In many states, the child welfare agency may, under certain circumstances, help arrange for a relative to care for a child without involving the court. Relatives may agree to care for children before a court becomes involved to avoid further entanglement with the child welfare system or having custody of the child taken from the parent. When these children are included, the NSAF estimate of the kinship foster care population rises to 542,000 children in 2002.

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