• May 2010
  • Vol. 11, No. 4

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Placement Stability in Foster Care

A number of studies have established a connection between frequent moves in foster care and poorer outcomes for children and youth. A new action brief released by PolicyLab at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia analyzed the results of the first year of a longitudinal Children's Stability and Well-Being Study that looked at placement histories of 450 children in the Philadelphia child welfare system. The report, Securing Child Safety, Well-Being, and Permanency Through Placement Stability in Foster Care, lists four major findings related to placement stability:

  • Children in kinship placements demonstrated greater placement stability than those in nonrelative foster care.
  • Placement stability for children in nonrelative foster care was often influenced by the number of children living in the foster home.
  • Behavioral health resources to help kinship and foster parents mitigate child behavioral problems were limited.
  • Timeliness of placement stability was not measured, and placement moves were undercounted.

The action brief offers several policy recommendations tied to these findings and to the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008. The Act recognizes the importance of placement stability for children’s safety and well-being, and it requires greater accountability to prevent discontinuity in schooling and the receipt of medical care.

Securing Child Safety, Well-Being, and Permanency Through Placement Stability in Foster Care, by Kathleen Noonan, David Rubin, Robin Mekonnen, Sarah Zlotnick, and Amanda O’Reilly, is available on the PolicyLab website: 

http://policylab.us/index.php/publications/evidence-to-action/45-policylab-position-paper.html

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