Contact between birth parents and children in kinship care in a sample from Spain.


Within the context of kinship care, the main objectives of this work are to study the characteristics of contact between foster children and their birth parents, and their relationship with key variables of fostering, the children and their kinship caregivers. The sample included 189 children from Spain and their kinship families. A semi-structured placement interview and two scales relating to the child-caregiver relationship and child’s psychological adjustment were used with the kinship families. The results revealed a significant percentage of foster children who had no family contact. Various visit types, frequencies and durations were described. Kinship care with contact, compared with placements without contact, was frequently characterized by the absence of professional supervision, and an affectionate child-caregiver relationship; moreover, children with contact were perceived to have fewer serious behaviour and socio-emotional problems and a greater probability of family reunification. The regression analysis showed that the main predictors for how caregivers assessed contact were the children’s emotional reaction during visits and the quality of the relationship between the kinship families and the birth parents. These results suggest the need for further research about contact, which will certainly have a major impact on professional intervention with these families.