Understanding extended involvement with the child welfare systemedit
This exploratory study investigates the child, family, and system factors related to extended length of stay in out of home placement. Using a statewide sample of 1501 children and youth (ages 3 to 21 years) who had been in foster care for at least 37 months, we created three categories according to the years they had been in continuous foster care: 3–5 years, 5–9 years, and 9 or more years. Collectively, descriptive findings indicate the majority were African American, male, and living in non-kin family foster home settings and that their primary placement goal was adoption. When examined as separate groups by length of stay, placement settings are increasingly restrictive and placement objectives diverged from permanency-focused goals. A multinomial logistic regression analysis was conducted using the lower long staying group (3–5 years) as the reference group. Inferential findings showed that several child and parent related risk factors were associated with greater odds of lengthier stays in out of home care, along with race (African American) and gender (male).