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Fostering gains

New and better approaches to helping maltreated kids who are removed from their homes

3:35pm, June 2, 2008

The foster care system in the United States gets plenty of bad press. There’s room for optimism, though. Kids removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect display encouraging behavioral and emotional responses to two alternative foster care tactics, new studies find.

One strategy calls for children to live in the homes of responsible relatives. Another enrolls youngsters in a private foster care program that offers expanded services compared with public foster care.

“Children prefer to be placed with relatives, and the care of relatives may support better behavioral outcomes,” remarks social worker Richard Barth of the University of MarylandSchool of Social Work in Baltimore.

That’s what a team led by psychiatrist David Rubin of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia found. Maltreated children placed into the families of relatives displayed fewer behavior problems three years after their placement than

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