Abstract: Predicting Turnover and Placement Disruption: A Latent Profile Analysis of Foster Parents (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

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Predicting Turnover and Placement Disruption: A Latent Profile Analysis of Foster Parents

Sunday, January 15, 2023
Cave Creek, 3rd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Taylor Dowdy-Hazlett, MSW, Doctoral Candidate, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL
Background/Purpose: Foster parents serve a critical role in the child welfare system's functionality, providing needed placement, stability, and care for children requiring out-of-home care. However, foster parents’ express dissatisfaction in their roles as caregivers, thus, turnover and placement disruption rates are on the rise. Placement disruption has many negative impacts on foster youth including delayed permanency, increased behavioral symptoms, and negative educational outcomes. Turnover rates impact the time and financial impact on the child welfare system to recruit and train more foster parents. Extent literature has identified factors associated with disruption to include child, foster parent, and systemic factors, but lacks insight into how these factors coalesce. Moreover, literature is sparce regarding foster parent turnover, lending support for more research in this area. This study aimed to examine foster parent subgroups, and those subgroups risk for intent to turnover and disrupt placement.

Methods: Data and Sample: Utilizing a cross-sectional design, data was collected via an online survey sent to foster parents in six states. The sample included 362 licensed foster parents who currently had at least one foster youth placement.

Results: A latent profile analysis was conducted to explore subgroups of foster parents based on shared patterns of responses related to support, parenting practices, stress, and coping. A three-profile solution was found, representing three subgroups of foster parents, subsequently named Resourceful, Strained, and Disadvantaged Foster Parents. Differences between groups on indicators were noted in scores on burnout, secondary-traumatic stress, social support, thoughts on training usefulness, and foster parent satisfaction. Added covariates showed significant differences among group make-up. Specifically, there was significant differences between Resourceful and Disadvantaged compared to Strained Foster Parents on the foster youth behavioral issues. As well as a significant difference between Resourceful Foster Parents compared to Disadvantaged Foster Parents on foster youth behavior. Additionally, there was a significant difference between Resourceful Foster Parents and Strained Foster Parents on race, with minority foster parents being more likely to be in the Strained Foster Parent profile. Foster parent profiles were regressed on intention to turnover and disrupt current foster youth placement. For turnover, disadvantaged and strained foster parent profiles predicted intent to turnover. For placement disruption, resourceful foster parents had a decreased likelihood of intent to disrupt placement.

Conclusions and Implications: Three profiles of foster parents were found with differences related to support, stress, and coping. Profiles differed on foster youth behavior and race make-up, with Resourceful Foster Parents being less likely to disrupt placement and disadvantaged and strained foster parent profiles being more at risk for turnover. These findings give insight into the training and support needs of foster parents. Implications for practice, policy, and research will be discussed.