Measuring the quality of care in kinship foster care placements

Katherine L. Stene, Sarah J. Dow-Fleisner, Dylan Ermacora, Jean Agathen, Lydia Falconnier, Megan Stager, Susan J. Wells - Children and Youth Services Review


Kinship foster care placements have become significantly more prevalent in both Canada and the United States. However, there are limited resources for child protection services (CPS) workers to assess the quality of the kinship caregiver placements. Although several measures exist to screen caregivers for general foster care, there are no instruments available for the assessment of quality in kinship foster care. Thus, the current study reexamined a kinship caregiver assessment using data from a study conducted at the Children and Family Research Center (CFRC). Inter-item and item-scale reliability coefficients were calculated for caregiver responses (N = 37) using Cronbach’s alpha and ordinal alpha through polychoric correlation matrices. Analyses revealed five distinct scales with good internal consistency (ordinal α > 0.75), suggesting a useful assessment tool. With the continuing shift to increased kinship placements, it is important that CPS workers have access to validated measures for this placement setting. Findings provide an innovative kinship caregiver measure to be used in the field of child welfare, and support further research in this area.