This article presents themes from a qualitative study of 58 African American female kinship caregivers in San Francisco. Core concepts that emerged describe various paths along which children move into kin homes, and caregivers' mixed emotional reactions to becoming surrogate parents. Women also discussed multiple family roles they assumed after taking in children. Responses highlight three primary reasons for becoming caregivers that center on providing for and protecting these children—particularly from the perceived threat of the public foster care system—and ultimately preserving the family unit. Paradoxically, caregivers' reasons mirror the stated goals of the public foster care system, which they view as a threat to family stability. We discuss the problems of implementing practice and policy recommendations for permanency and family preservation and how to bridge the gap between the deeply held negative beliefs of African American caregivers towards the public system and begin to build trust.
Cohon, Don; Hines, Lisa; Cooper, Bruce A.; Packman, Wendy; and Siggins, Elizabeth
"Preserving Family: Themes from a Qualitative Study of Kin Caregivers,"
Journal of Family Strengths:
1, Article 6.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.library.tmc.edu/jfs/vol8/iss1/6