Child Sexual Abuse and the Impact of Rurality on Foster Care Outcomes: An Exploratory Analysis.
Griffiths, Austin. Murphy, April L. Harper, Whitney.
Published: May 2017
Vol. 95, No. 1 , p. 57-76
Child Welfare League of America (CWLA)
727 15th Street, NW 12th Floor
Washington, DC 20005
Child sexual abuse remains a problem in society, often resulting in the long-term placement of children in the foster care system. In Kentucky, children placed in foster care due to sexual abuse spent more time in care when compared with children removed for any other reason (AFCARS, 2013). Given the cost of long-term foster care placement in both human and economic terms, few studies have specifically explored if any factors help to predict why this vulnerable population spends significantly more time in foster care. The overarching goal of this exploratory study was to use binary logistic regression to investigate whether any child demographic or environmental characteristics predicted the discharge of a child placed in Kentucky’s foster care system for child sexual abuse. Results indicated that children in the most rural areas of the state were over 10 times more likely to be discharged from foster care during the federal fiscal year than those residing in the most urban areas. Given this stark reality, a focus must be allocated in understanding this phenomenon. Future research must examine whether the results speak to the necessity of systematic improvement in urban areas or if they are illustrating a unique strength found in rural areas. (Author abstract)
child abuse; sexual abuse; rural environment; foster children; family reunification; permanency; outcomes; environmental influences