Crisis nursery effects on child placement after foster care

Susan A. Cole, Pedro M. Hernandez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The results of a study of the relationship between receiving crisis nursery services and the placement outcomes for young children leaving the child welfare system in Illinois are reported in this paper. The placement outcomes for children leaving foster care whose families received crisis nursery support prior to the children's placement in foster care is compared to the placement outcomes for children whose families received only foster care services. The children in two samples were identified by matching crisis nursery children's data from FY 2006 with children's data in the Illinois Child Abuse and Neglect Tracking System and Children Youth and Services Information System databases. After children served by crisis nursery and foster care services were identified, a comparison group of children with like-characteristics whose families received only foster care services was identified using propensity score matching. The children were followed until their out-of-home placement was terminated or until June 30, 2009. The placement outcomes and the length of stay were compared for the two groups. Using logistical regression analysis the results showed that children whose families received crisis nursery services prior to foster care placement were twice as likely to be reunited with their biological families (birth or extended family members) when compared to children whose families received only foster care services. The difference in the length-of-stay in foster care was not statistically significant when the two groups were compared. This preliminary study using administrative data shows that receiving crisis nursery services may have positive effects on the children's ultimate placement outcome after foster care. Additional research is needed to further explore the relationship between placement outcome and crisis nursery services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1445-1453
Number of pages9
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Child welfare
  • Crisis nursery
  • Preventative service
  • Propensity score matching
  • Young children

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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