The Effects of Distance on Foster Care Outcomes

Authors: Kathryn Kulbicki*, Westat
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, Applied Geography
Keywords: Foster children, placement, distance, health geography
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Truman, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Location, as an element of foster care placement, affects the physical, educational, and mental wellbeing of children in the foster care system. Multiple placement settings create an unhealthy environment for children. A stable housing environment can reduce a child's emotional and behavioral problems, criminal conviction, and dropout rates (Batsche & Reader, 2012). The goal of foster care placement stability is to minimize the number of placement settings that a child has. There is notable room for improvement with 44% of the children in foster care being placed in three or more placement settings, which could include foster homes, group homes or shelters (Pecora, 2012). Foster care placement changes can happen for numerous reasons such as caregiver related reasons, child behavior, or policy reasons (Cross, Koh, Rolock, & Eblen-Manning, 2013). The impact on distance and foster care placements is not well understood. This research explores fifteen years of foster care placements and how distance between placements and home impacts foster children when they exit the foster care system.

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