1 Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences, Københavns Universitet2 Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences, Københavns Universitet
Foster care children who experience placement disruption and foster care instability are at elevated risk for a host of poor outcomes, yet little work considers what these unstable foster care careers look like or what causes them. In this article, I start by using previous studies on foster care drift, instability, and placement disruptions to define the unstable foster care career as a subset of foster care careers. I then use administrative data on 30,239 Danish children born 1982-1987 who entered foster care to generate nine foster care careers, two of which meet the criteria for an unstable career. Children with a high number of risk factors associated with foster care entry were also the most likely to enter an unstable career. I end by discussing implications for recent studies of the effect of foster care on children’s later life outcomes and the relevance of the findings for practitioners.
Child Abuse and Neglect, 2014, Vol 38, Issue 11, p. 1860-1871
Faculty of Social Sciences; administrative data; foster care; instability; Sequence Analysis