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Children's mental health and its predictors in kinship and non-kinship foster care: A systematic


PhD Student Yanfeng Xu (shown here) and Associate Professor and Director of the Doctoral Program Dr. Charlotte Bright are co-authors of "Children's mental health and its predictors in kinship and non-kinship foster care: A systematic review" that has been published by Children and Youth Services Review.


The purpose of this systematic review is to compare the associations of kinship care and non-kinship care with children's mental health and to examine the factors associated with children's mental health in kinship care and non-kinship foster care. A comprehensive search was conducted in nine databases, and 237 articles were identified yielding eight studies that met criteria. Study designs, sample characteristics, methodologies, and results were collected and entered into data matrices and data was analyzed narratively. This review found that children in kinship care exhibited better mental health outcomes than children in non-kinship care in the univariate and bivariate comparisons. However, the associations between kinship care and children's mental health in regression models were mixed across studies. The associations depended on research designs (cross-sectional or prospective longitudinal design) and whether statistical models addressed selection bias and controlled for confounders. This review also identified that child maltreatment related factors, placement related factors, child level factors, foster caregiver level factors, foster family environmental level factors, and neighborhood level factors were associated with foster children's mental health. Some implications for practice and research were discussed.

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