Academic Literature

Racial Matching in Foster Care Placements and Subsequent Placement Stability: A National Study

2022

Racial Matching in Foster Care Placements and Subsequent Placement Stability: A National Study

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Placement instability for children in foster care has an adverse effect on child safety, permanency, and well-being. Some studies have examined racial matching between caseworker-child to improve child outcomes, but fewer have explored racial matching in foster care placements and subsequent outcomes. This study examined the impact of same-race foster home placements on placement stability. This study used data from the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis System (AFCARS), an administrative database containing the children in care for each fiscal year (FY). The analytic sample included n = 36,191 children aged 0–17 years who entered foster care in FY 2015 and were placed with a non-relative foster family and remained in the same placement throughout FY 2015. We followed this sample through FY 2019 to compare racially-matched initial placements and subsequent placement changes. The authors conducted an inverse probability-weighted regression adjustment model using Stata version 16. Approximately three-quarters of children were in a racially-matched foster home when they entered foster care, and two-thirds experienced placement stability. Non-Hispanic White children had the highest rates of racially matched placements. After adjusting for other factors, racial matching increased the likelihood of placement stability (b = .05, p < .001). The relationship between child race/ethnicity and placement stability varied among those in racially-matched and transracial placements. Initial findings highlight the importance of recruiting foster families of color and we identify areas for future research that could track child and foster parent characteristics with each placement move.

LaBrenz, C. A., Kim, J., Harris, M. S., Crutchfield, J., Choi, M., Robinson, E. D., Findley, E., & Ryan, S.D. (2022) Racial Matching in Foster Care Placements and Subsequent Placement Stability. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10560-022-00831-x

 

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