Foster Home Integration as a Temporal Indicator of Relational Well-Being

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Children and Youth Services Review

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This study sought to identify factors that contribute to the relational well-being of youth in substitute care. Using data from the Supporting Siblings in Foster Care (SIBS-FC) study, youth responded to a 9-item measure of positive home integration, a scale designed to assess the relational experiences of youth to their caregivers and their integration into the foster home. Data were collected from youth in six month intervals, for an 18-month period of time. Latent growth curve modeling procedures were employed to determine if child, family, and case characteristics influenced youth's home integration trajectories. Results suggest stability in youth reports of home integration over time; however, children who were older at the time of study enrollment and youth who experienced placement changes during the period of observation experienced decreased home integration during the 18-month period. Results suggest youth's perspectives of home integration may in part be a function of the child's developmental stage and their experiences with foster care placement instability. Implications for practice and future research are discussed.