“Nobody Knows Me No More”: Experiences of Loss Among African American Adolescents in Kinship and Non-Kinship Foster Care Placementsedit
Youth in out-of-home care confront numerous disruptions in relationships and social environments, but how they experience such disruptions and their perception of these changes as losses has received little attention in the research literature. Furthermore, the increased use of kinship foster care raises questions regarding the effect of such placements on children’s experience of loss. Due to the overrepresentation of African American children in both the child welfare system and in kinship placements, race is a central variable in understanding the kinship care context and how it impacts loss. Using interview data from 18 African American adolescents in kinship and non-kinship placements, qualitative findings are presented regarding differences in relational and locational disruptions and in perceptions of those disruptions. Compared to non-kinship participants, adolescents in kinship placements experienced fewer disruptions in relationships and location and also experienced the restoration of losses as well as outright relational gains in entering their relative placements. Implications for policy, practice, and research are also discussed.