A new study in June 2008 issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine suggests a relationship between behavioural problems and placement when children are removed from their homes because of maltreatment. Researchers examined behavioural difficulties 18 and 36 months after kids¬† had been removed from their homes. They found that the children who were placed with a family member (“kinship care”) soon after being removed from their home had significantly fewer behavioural problems 3 years later.
Although the researchers statistically controlled for many other factors that might also have affected behaviour, it’s tough to draw firm conclusions from the study. Placement in kinship care depended on other family members’ availability and willingness to take in the child; it’s possible that family members were less likely to take in kids with more severe problems, which could also explain the difference.