First Advisor

Bowen McBeath

Term of Graduation

Summer 2022

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Social Work and Social Research


Social Work





Physical Description

1 online resource (vii, 208 pages)


Foster care has been one of the primary interventions in society's efforts to address child maltreatment. The foster parents and foster homes follow a process of certification intended to ensure that maltreated children be placed in substitute care that supports and encourages positive outcomes. One of the outcomes of principle concern is mental health. Few studies have been conducted that explore the makeup of certified foster homes with respect to the cumulative impact of multiple indicators of quality on mental health outcomes of foster youth.

This study sought to identify a typology of foster homes based on theorized indicators of quality and utilizing a dataset from the Supporting Siblings in Foster Care intervention. Hierarchical agglomerative cluster analyses, k-means cluster analyses, and Latent Class Analyses were separately conducted to develop typologies. Differences in group means of indicator variables were used to suggest characteristics of different foster home types. ANOVA and multivariate hierarchical linear regression were used to explore differences in mental health measures at baseline and over time between types of foster homes.

Results indicated distinct typologies using the different clustering methods. In addition, foster home types characterized by a higher prevalence of kinship care and sibling togetherness were generally associated with lower estimated scores on several standardized mental health measures. Other variables were indicative of foster home type but were inconsistent in terms of their impact on mental health outcomes. These included foster parent education and experience, household size and income, length of placement and contact with biological parents. Implications for research, policy, programs, and practice are discussed.


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Persistent Identifier

Included in

Social Work Commons