OBJECTIVE: To examine the impact of a mentoring and skills group intervention for preadolescent children in foster care on placement stability and permanence at 1-year postintervention.
METHODS: A randomized controlled trial was conducted with 9- to 11-year-old children who were maltreated and placed in foster care (n = 54 control; n = 56 intervention). State child welfare records provided information on number of placement changes, placement in residential treatment, and case closure (ie, permanency). Rates of adoption and reunification were also examined. Analysis was by intention to treat.
RESULTS: After controlling for baseline functioning and preintervention placement history, intervention youth were 71% less likely to be placed in residential treatment (odds ratio [OR] = 0.29, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.09–0.98). There were no significant treatment differences in predicting placement changes or permanency for the total sample. Among a subsample of children living in nonrelative foster care at baseline, intervention youth had 44% fewer placement changes (incidence ratio = 0.56, 95% CI 0.34–0.93), were 82% less likely to be placed in a residential treatment center (OR = 0.18, 95% CI 0.03–0.96), and were 5 times more likely to have attained permanency at 1 year postintervention (OR = 5.14, 95% CI 1.55–17.07). More intervention youth had reunified 1-year postintervention [χ2(1, N = 78) = 3.99; P < .05], and the pattern of findings suggested that intervention youth had higher rates of adoption. A significant interaction [χ2(1, N = 110) = 5.43; P = .02] demonstrated that the intervention attenuated the impact of baseline behavior problems on placement changes.
CONCLUSIONS: The findings suggest that participation in a 9-month mentoring and skills group intervention leads to greater placement stability and permanence, especially for children in nonrelative foster care.
- CI —
- confidence interval
- FHF —
- Fostering Healthy Futures
- OR —
- odds ratio
- RTC —
- residential treatment center
- TPR —
- termination of parental rights
- Accepted March 13, 2012.
- Copyright © 2012 by the American Academy of Pediatrics