The attention has been captivated by the large numbers of children being served in foster care by kin and the scarcity of information available about the rapidly growing arrangement for care” (Berrick, 1997, p.273).
According to Mokgosi (1997, p.7), “placement with extended family or kinship is becoming widely used as an alternative placement. Many child welfare experts believe that children will be better served if their care is provided by family members within the community of origin rather than by strangers.” For, separation from distant family members may lead to the child’s disruption, if unattended. On the other hand, Berrick claims, “on a number of measures relating to the home environment, non-kin homes were rated as safer” (1997, p.273). The author describes kin caregivers as “older than foster family parents and a group heavily represented by single women of colour who are struggling themselves with limited incomes” (Berrick, 1997, p.273). Whilst foster family providers generally prepare for their new role as parents, kinship foster parents more often fall into older parenthood in response to a pressing family emergency.
Trends in this data point to the need for further research in the field, that is, “the need for changes in policy and practice that might strengthen the kin and non-kin resources currently available to dependent children are also suggested” (Berrick, 1997, p.279). Although the study done by Berrick was designed to assess the quality in kin and non-kin homes, focus herein will be given on its quantitative aspect, that is to say, in terms of the empirical patterns found in the data collected, so as to explain the research phenomena with regards to its numerical data. The primary method used was survey research, which included interviews.
The county staff drew a random sample of 123 kinships and 97 non-kin homes from their foster care databases. .Herein, a simple random sampling method of analysis was implemented. “Sampling is a technical accounting device to rationalize the collection of information, to choose in an appropriate way the restricted set of objects, persons, events from which the actual information will be drawn” (Bless and Higson-Smith, 1995, p.85). .