Characteristics of foster families and children impacting placement stability

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ABSTRACT Many foster children experience numerous placements while in out-of-home care; some up to fifteen in an 18 month period (Newton, Litrownik, & Landsverk, 2000). Placement stability is important for

ABSTRACT Many foster children experience numerous placements while in out-of-home care; some up to fifteen in an 18 month period (Newton, Litrownik, & Landsverk, 2000). Placement stability is important for children to find permanent families, and for social, emotional and educational development of children. This study used the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-being (NSCAW) data set to examine foster child and caregiver characteristics, and the caregiver-child relationship as a predictor of placement stability in the long term foster care general sample. Logistic regression was performed with the Complex Samples add-on to appropriately weight the NSCAW sampling. Children who were placed in foster homes or kinship homes and who had not been returned home at the Wave 3 interview were included in the study. The sample consisting of 562 children was divided into three groups based on age: Early Group 1, childhood ages 1to 5, group 1;Group 2, Middle childhood ages 6 to 10, group 2; Group 3, Adolescence ages 11 to 18, group 3. Results are consistent with previous studies in that children in early childhood and middle childhood who were placed in foster homes were 83% and 87% less likely to achieve placement stability than children in kinship homes, respectively. In early childhood, each additional household member reduced the odds of achieving placement stability by 35%.The caregiver-child relationship did not predict placement stability.