Assessing Foster Parent Factors That Predict Placement Disruption of Youth in Foster Care
Tunno, Angela Marie
University of Kansas
Clinical Child Psychology
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Placement disruption is associated with a range of problematic outcomes for youth in foster care (e.g., externalizing and internalizing difficulties), and stable placements in a safe and supportive environment may buffer negative outcomes associated with placement instability. To best understand factors that are related to placement disruption, the current study aimed to assess if placement disruption was related to foster parent social support, stress, and training experiences above and beyond child and parent demographic variables using a longitudinal, prospective approach. The sample consisted of 32 traditional foster parents (91% female, 9% male) with a mean age of 45.69 years who reported on 64 foster children (54% female, 44% male) with a mean age of 8.20 years. Due to the fact that several foster parents reported on multiple children, only one randomly selected target child report was included in the final analysis resulting in foster parents report on a total of 32 children (53% female, 44% male) with a mean age of 8.41 years. Results suggested that the only variable related to disruption in the current sample was foster parent age. Specifically, older foster parents experienced more placement disruption when compared to younger foster parents. When matching participants based on foster parent age, no relation was observed between disruption status and foster parent social support, stress, and training experiences. Findings from the current study do suggest that for some traditional foster parents, it may not be low training hours, high stress, and low support that accounts for why some placements disrupt. Implications of the current findings as well as directions for future research are discussed.
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