Challenging children in kin versus nonkin foster care: Perceived costs and benefits to caregivers

Susan Goff Timmer, Georganna Sedlar, Anthony J. Urquiza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


This study uses social exchange theory as a framework for examining 102 kin and 157 nonkin foster parents' perceptions of their foster children, their relationships with them, and their own functioning. The authors argue that these perceptions reflect perceived costs and benefits of parenting these children, which may influence their investment in them. All children in the study were referred to Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) for treatment of the children's behavior problems, participating with their foster parents. Analyses showed that nonkin caregivers rated their foster children's behavior problems as significantly more severe than kin caregivers but rated themselves as significantly less stressed. Analyses predicting early treatment termination showed that kin caregivers were more likely than nonkin caregivers to complete the course of treatment in PCIT, particularly if they reported elevated levels of parental distress. The authors discuss the implications of these findings for foster children's placement stability and long-term success.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-262
Number of pages12
JournalChild Maltreatment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2004


  • Foster care
  • Foster parent functioning
  • Kinship care
  • Mental health treatment
  • PCIT

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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