Grandparent foster caregiver characteristics, differences between foster caregivers, and predictors of satisfaction with social support
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This study described grandparent foster caregivers in the National Survey on Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW) dataset of 727 long-term foster care children. It explored differences between foster caregivers in four groups (parents, grandparents, other relatives and non-relatives) on caregiver mental health, caregiver physical health, parenting behaviors, home environment and quality of caregiver-child relationship. It also explored the variables that explained social support satisfaction among caregivers. The purpose of this study was threefold. The first purpose of the study was to build on the current literature about grandparent caregivers and answer questions about grandparent caregivers in the specialized area of child welfare. The second purpose was to compare and contrast the differences between grandparent caregivers and other caregivers in the child welfare system using variables from the gerontological and kinship literature. The third purpose of the study was to determine which factors best predict social support satisfaction. Major findings of the study showed that: a) although the number of social supports available was importantly related to social support satisfaction, total family annual income, quality of the caregiver-child relationship, and caregiver mental health were also important factors in explaining caregivers’ social support satisfaction; b) after a child has been in foster care for a year, grandparent and parent caregivers experience lower mental health scores than non-relatives and other relatives; and c) although there were no statistical differences in social support satisfaction, non-relatives reported significantly more social supports than kinship care providers..
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