• Sept / Oct 2006
  • Vol. 7, No. 7

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Placement Stability Factors

Chapin Hall Center for Children has released a new report, A Study of Placement Stability in Illinois, that suggests that the average number of placements for children in foster care could be reduced if children were placed with siblings or relatives for their first placement. The report details the findings from the first phase of a multiyear study examining the prevalence, nature, and predictors of placement instability in substitute care in Illinois.

Administrative data analyses of the placement histories of more than 200,000 children in care combined with findings from a web-based survey of 1,192 child welfare caseworkers revealed that placement movement was due to a mix of factors and circumstances. Workers reported that over 75 percent of children's most recent placement moves were due, at least in part, to foster parents' inability or unwillingness to continue fostering. The study also found that, while placement in relative foster homes and placement with siblings significantly reduced the likelihood of subsequent placement instability, a large percentage of prior moves had been attributed to efforts to move children to these types of placements. Initial placement of children with relatives could reduce some of this movement.

Other recommendations made by workers to reduce placement instability included providing foster families with family-centered services and caregiver assistance and providing children with mental health services and case management.

The full report, by A. Zinn, J. DeCoursey, R. Goerge, and M. Courtney, is available on the Chapin Hall website:

www.chapinhall.org/article_abstract.aspx?ar=1423&L2=61&L3=130

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