Number of N.D. kids living with parents has droppedIn North Dakota, the proportion of children living with married parents has fallen over the past 30 years, according to a recent report by North Dakota KIDS COUNT which tracks the status of children and is based at North Dakota State University.
By: Pamela Knudson, Grand Forks Herald
In North Dakota, the proportion of children living with married parents has fallen over the past 30 years, according to a recent report by North Dakota KIDS COUNT which tracks the status of children and is based at North Dakota State University.
The report said the proportion of children living with married parents was 86 percent in 1980. By 2010, that figure decreased to 69 percent.
All 53 counties in North Dakota had a decrease in the proportion of children living with both parents over the past three decades. Four counties — Benson, Mountrail, Rolette and Sioux — showed decreases of at least 30 percent in the proportion of children living with both parents.
The majority of children in North Dakota, a total of 103,398 in 2010, live with both parents.
Children living with a single parent rose from 9 percent in 1980 to 24 percent in 2010.
Children in other living arrangements — such as living with a grandparent, other relative or nonrelative or in a group facility — increased from 4 percent in 1980 to 7 percent in 2010.
‘Kinship care’ increases
Over the past decade, more children are being raised by relatives or close family friends, a phenomenon known as “kinship care,” according to a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Nationally, there’s been an 18-percent increase in children in kinship care in the past decade. North Dakota has seen a 35 percent increase in the same timeframe.
The foundation’s report, “Stepping Up for Kids: What Government and Communities Should Do to Support Kinship Families,” estimates that more than 2.7 million children across the nation live in kinship families, 4,000 of whom are in North Dakota.
In 1990, 2 percent of North Dakota children lived with a grandparent or other relative. This proportion rose to 5 percent in 2010, according to the report.
In Grand Forks County, about 35 children in the custody of Social Services are living with relatives, according to Wayne Piche, family services supervisor.
By state and federal policy mandate, if it is unsafe for children to live with their biological parents, Social Services personnel seek to place these children with relatives, but only if those relatives can provide a safe environment, he said, “with safety always being paramount in our process.”
Kinship care provides a safe, stable and nurturing home for children suffering from the trauma of being separated from their parents and other hardships, the Casey Foundation stated, citing research that confirms that extended family is often the best option when children cannot live with their own parents.
Children in kinship care often fare better than their peers in foster care, the foundation reported. They are less likely to experience behavioral problems, school disruptions and psychiatric disorders, and are better able to adjust to their new environment.
Call Knudson at (701) 780-1107; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1107; or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.