Pathways to Residential Care: Latent Class and Confirmatory Analyses of Adolescents’ Adverse Placement Event Historiesedit
This study aims to develop greater understanding of the preplacement experiences of adolescents who enter residential care through the child welfare system by identifying a discrete set of modal placement histories as indicated by the occurrence of one or more adverse placement events. To this end, we analyze the placement experiences of a sample of 2,542 adolescents entering residential care under the auspices of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (IDCFS) using repeated-measures latent class analysis (RMLCA). We identify six distinct adverse placement event pathways, differentiated by a combination of prevailing event type and the timing of adverse event onset. We find that these pathways are associated with analogous residential care discharge outcomes, that is, discharges that mirror a pathway’s prevailing event type. Moreover, we find that the likelihood of experiencing an analogous discharge is higher for adolescents experiencing pathways characterized by longer persistence than it is for adolescents experiencing pathways characterized by later onset or shorter persistence.