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

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

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Koh, Eun & Rolock, Nancy & Cross, Theodore P. & Eblen-Manning, Jennifer, 2014. "What explains instability in foster care? Comparison of a matched sample of children with stable and unstable placements," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 36-45.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:cysrev:v:37:y:2014:i:c:p:36-45
    DOI: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2013.12.007
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Oosterman, Mirjam & Schuengel, Carlo & Wim Slot, N. & Bullens, Ruud A.R. & Doreleijers, Theo A.H., 2007. "Disruptions in foster care: A review and meta-analysis," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 53-76, January.
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    Cited by:

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    2. Simmons-Horton, Sherri Y., 2017. "Providing age-appropriate activities for youth in foster care: Policy implementation process in three states," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 383-391.
    3. Jedwab, Merav & Xu, Yanfeng & Shaw, Terry V., 2020. "Kinship care first? Factors associated with placement moves in out-of-home care," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 115(C).
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    5. Van Holen, Frank & Geys, Lynn & West, Delphine & Gypen, Laura & Vanderfaeillie, Johan, 2019. "Characteristics of successful foster families according to Flemish foster care workers," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 107(C).
    6. Jacobsen, Heidi & Brabrand, Hilde & Liland, Solveig M.M. & Wentzel-Larsen, Tore & Moe, Vibeke, 2018. "Foster parents' emotional investment and their young foster children's socio-emotional functioning," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 200-208.
    7. Font, Sarah A. & Sattler, Kierra M.P. & Gershoff, Elizabeth T., 2018. "Measurement and correlates of foster care placement moves," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 248-258.
    8. Leathers, Sonya J. & Diamant-Wilson, Roni & Spielfogel, Jill E. & Annes, Lee & Thomas, Amy & Garrett-Wilson, Shirlyn, 2021. "Team decision-making service planning for children and adolescents at risk for placement instability: Fidelity and initial outcomes," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 120(C).
    9. Stenason, Lauren & Romano, Elisa, 2023. "Number of placement changes among young people in care: Youth and caregiver associations," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 144(C).
    10. DiGiovanni, Anna & Font, Sarah A., 2021. "Revisiting conventional wisdom: What do we know from 30 years of research on sibling placement in foster care?," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 126(C).
    11. Osborne, Jennifer & Hindt, Lauren A. & Lutz, Nathan & Hodgkinson, Nicole & Leon, Scott C., 2021. "Placement stability among children in kinship and non-kinship foster placements across multiple placements," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 126(C).
    12. Konijn, Carolien & Admiraal, Sabine & Baart, Josefiene & van Rooij, Floor & Stams, Geert-Jan & Colonnesi, Cristina & Lindauer, Ramón & Assink, Mark, 2019. "Foster care placement instability: A meta-analytic review," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 483-499.
    13. Latzman, Natasha E. & Gibbs, Deborah A. & Feinberg, Rose & Kluckman, Marianne N. & Aboul-Hosn, Sue, 2019. "Human trafficking victimization among youth who run away from foster care," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 113-124.
    14. Downey, Jordan & Greco, John, 2023. "Trauma sensitive schools: A comprehensive guide for the assessment planning and implementation of trauma informed frameworks," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 149(C).
    15. Kerns, Suzanne E.U. & Pullmann, Michael D. & Putnam, Barbara & Buher, Anne & Holland, Sarah & Berliner, Lucy & Silverman, Ellen & Payton, Lin & Fourre, LaRessa & Shogren, Dae & Trupin, Eric W., 2014. "Child welfare and mental health: Facilitators of and barriers to connecting children and youths in out-of-home care with effective mental health treatment," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 315-324.
    16. Dominick, Gregory M. & Saunders, Ruth P. & Friedman, Daniela B. & Hussey, James R. & Watkins, Ken W., 2015. "Factors associated with provision of instrumental social support for physical activity in a foster parent population," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 1-7.

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