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Strategies for longitudinal research with youth in foster care: A demonstration of methods, barriers, and innovations


  • Jackson, Yo
  • Gabrielli, Joy
  • Tunno, Angela M.
  • Hambrick, Erin P.


Longitudinal research on youth in foster care is important, but often challenging to accomplish. To assist the field, a thorough description of the development of the SPARK (Studying Pathways to Adjustment and Resilience in Kids) project, a longitudinal research project on the mechanisms of resilience for foster youth and their caregivers, is presented. Authors explain the difficult task for researchers in accessing youth in foster care and suggest strategies for success. Recruitment approaches for foster youth and their families are also provided along with examples of effective techniques. Data collection concerns are discussed, and the authors provide recommendations for researchers to consider when asking youth sensitive questions. Finally, data collection on academic information from teachers and how the SPARK project works with the academic community to gain information on school functioning for youth in the project is described. Suggestions for methodology utilized in future research along with examples of innovative adjustments to typical research procedures are provided as guidance for how research on maltreated youth can be conducted.

Suggested Citation

  • Jackson, Yo & Gabrielli, Joy & Tunno, Angela M. & Hambrick, Erin P., 2012. "Strategies for longitudinal research with youth in foster care: A demonstration of methods, barriers, and innovations," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(7), pages 1208-1213.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:cysrev:v:34:y:2012:i:7:p:1208-1213
    DOI: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2012.02.007

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Trout, Alexandra L. & Hagaman, Jessica & Casey, Kathryn & Reid, Robert & Epstein, Michael H., 2008. "The academic status of children and youth in out-of-home care: A review of the literature," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(9), pages 979-994, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cho, Bridget & Jackson, Yo, 2016. "Self-reported and case file maltreatment: Relations to psychosocial outcomes for youth in foster care," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 241-247.
    2. Blakeslee, Jennifer E. & Del Quest, A. & Powers, Jennifer & Powers, Laurie E. & Geenen, Sarah & Nelson, May & Dalton, Lawrence D. & McHugh, Elizabeth, 2013. "Reaching everyone: Promoting the inclusion of youth with disabilities in evaluating foster care outcomes," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(11), pages 1801-1808.


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