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May 2022Vol. 23, No. 4Building Coregulation Capacity to Support Positive Development for Youth in Foster Care

report from the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation within the Administration for Children and Families of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services explores how self-regulation can be applied as a framework for promoting youth health and well-being through coregulation. It reviews which developmental skills and competencies are addressed in the current literature, how coregulation is presented, and what context it is being applied in as well as identifies research gaps. The report provides key findings as well as recommendations. Child welfare researchers and program administrators can use this report to better understand coregulation and how to implement it into practice.

Coregulation involves more than just relationships. There are three critical components within the coregulation framework: caring, consistent, and responsive relationships; cocreation of supportive environments; and intentional and developmentally informed day-to-day interactions. Coregulation also does not require a therapeutic context or a specific program.

Although older youth in and transitioning out of care possess resilience and unique strengths, they often experience challenges with self-regulating, which can make it more difficult to successfully transition to adulthood. These challenges can stem from experiencing trauma, disrupted relationships, or maltreatment. Additionally, challenges exist within the child welfare system that make it more difficult for adults to provide coregulation. This population has limited access to evidence-based interventions and have a great need for targeted support services. 

The report provided the following recommendations:
  • Utilize principles of practice
  • Strengthen supports for coregulation within the child welfare system
  • Strengthen evidence on coregulation for older youth in foster care