A review of how states are addressing placement stability

Joan M. Blakey, Sonya J. Leathers, Michelle Lawler, Tyreasa Washington, Chiralaine Natschke, Tonya Strand, Quenette Walton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


States are under increasing pressure to reduce the number of placements of foster children. Initial results from the federal Child and Family Service Reviews (CFSR) of 48 states found that only 40% of states met targets for placement stability. Consequently, many states have had to identify approaches to increase placement stability as a part of their Program Improvement Plans (PIPs). Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 44 state and county child welfare administrators, supervisors, managers, staff members, and/or foster parents from 33 states to gain an understanding of the range of approaches that states are using. Thematic analysis of the interviews revealed that states are using the following nine approaches to reduce the incidence of foster home disruptions: improving services to foster children, placement-matching, recruitment of foster parents, services and support to foster parents, training, consultation and collaboration, collaborative team approaches, involvement of biological parents, and prevention. Although 91% of states are using five to nine of these approaches to reduce placement disruption, few states are systematically evaluating the effects of these programs. More research is needed to focus on the effectiveness of the various approaches that states are using to address placement disruptions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)369-378
Number of pages10
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by the Children and Family Research Center (CFRC) of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign . The preparation of this article also was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) through grant K01 MH070580 . The content of this article does not necessarily reflect the views of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of CFRC, NIMH or NIH. This study was funded by the Children and Family Research Center of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign through a Faculty Development Grant. I would like to thank James Gleeson for his comments on an earlier version of this paper.


  • CFSR
  • Placement disruption
  • Placement moves
  • Placement stability


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