What explains instability in foster care? Comparison of a matched sample of children with stable and unstable placements

Eun Koh, Nancy Rolock, Theodore P. Cross, Jennifer Eblen-Manning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study investigates what characteristics explain placement instability for children in foster care. Using a matched sample of children experiencing stable and unstable placements, bivariate and logistic regression analyses were conducted to identify factors for placement instability. The study also examines specific reasons for placement changes for a group of children who experienced multiple placements. Findings from this study highlight the following three components that contribute to placement stability for children in foster care: a) a caregiver's commitment to a child's legal permanence; b) the absence of a child's mental health diagnosis; and c) placements with a relative caregiver. The findings of the study also illustrate that while system- or policy-related reasons explain the largest proportion of placement changes for children's earlier stay in foster care, a majority of placement changes are attributed to either foster family-related or child behavior-related reasons over time. Implications of these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-45
Number of pages10
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Volume37
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2014

Keywords

  • Child welfare
  • Foster care
  • Placement stability
  • Propensity score matching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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