Foster Home Placements and the Probability of Family Reunification: Does Licensing Matter?
Ryan, Joseph P. Perron, Brian E. Moore, Andrew. Victor, Bryan. Evangelist, Michael.
Published: September 2016
Child Abuse and Neglect
Vol. 59 , p. 88-99
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The concept of foster care has been widely studied in child welfare. The literature is well developed with regard to the risk of initial placement, length of stay in care, placement stability, exits to permanency, and emancipation. Yet, the literature is woefully underdeveloped when it comes to understanding if variations in the types and characteristics of foster homes impact important child welfare outcomes. The current study utilizes entry cohorts pulled from statewide administrative data (N = 17,960) to investigate the association between types of foster care and the probability of reunification. We focus specifically on the licensing status of foster homes. Reflecting federal benchmarks, we examined the odds of reunification at one- and two-year intervals. Propensity score analysis was used to reduce selection bias. Adjusted logistic regression models revealed that youth placed in licensed relative care (LRC) homes were the least likely to achieve reunification compared with youth placed in licensed non-relative care (LNC) homes and unlicensed relative care (URC) homes. Conversely, youth placed in URC homes were more likely to achieve reunification as compared with youth placed in LRC and LNC homes. These findings will help states to efficiently target scarce resources to specific types of foster homes that may be impacting federal reunification benchmarks. (Author abstract)
foster children; family reunification; incidence; kinship care; LICENSING; foster care