Within and Between State Variation in the Use of Congregate Care.
Wulczyn, Fred. Alpert, Lily. Martinez, Zach. Weiss, Ava.
Public Policy Report
Published: June 2015
Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago
1313 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
This report shares findings from a study that explored the use of congregate care for children in out-of-home placements by examining the how the likelihood of placement of congregate care varies from State to State and from country to count, and what factors predict placement in non-family settings. Data for the study came from the Multistate Foster Care Data Archive (FCDA)—a longitudinal archive containing the foster care records of approximately 3 million children nationwide. The study began by reviewing how congregate care use varies among States and Counties. Then, using a subset of children from 961 counties in 14 States, the study used multilevel modeling techniques to examine how child characteristics (age, gender, and race/ethnicity) and county attributes (urbanicity and socioeconomic disadvantage) interact to influence the likelihood that a child in foster care will be placed in a non-family setting. Findings indicate about 20% of children in foster care experience a congregate care placement at some point during their time in care; however, reliance on group care varies widely, both between and within States. The study found that at the State level, the likelihood that a child will enter foster care directly to a congregate care setting ranges from 4 to 44%, teenagers are more likely to enter a group setting than younger children, males are more likely than females, and African Americans more likely than children from other racial/ethnic backgrounds. Urban counties were found to use more congregate care than non-urban counties, and economically disadvantaged counties were less likely to place children in group care than areas classified as better off. 9 table sand 15 references.
foster children; GROUP HOMES; RESIDENTIAL CARE INSTITUTIONS; statistics; predictor variables; environmental influences; demography; age factors; urban environment