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Child-Maltreatment-Research-L (CMRL) List Serve

Database of Past CMRL Messages

Welcome to the database of past Child-Maltreatment-Research-L (CMRL) list serve messages. The table below contains all past CMRL messages (text only, no attachments) from Nov. 20, 1996 - December 22, 2017 and is updated quarterly.

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Message ID: 9850
Date: 2015-07-13

Author:Mark Chaffin

Subject:Re: Why do we move foster children so often? Should we move them less often? How?

Why? Various reasons, not all of them bad. Sometimes its law or policy or a move designed to benefit the child. For example, moving from a non-family foster home to a kinship home, or a move to keep a child within their own culture, or a move to locate a child nearer their biological parents in order to enable more contact, or a move so that sibships can be in the same household. Sometimes its a move to provide a different level of services, then a move back (although I’m not sure this is a very good reason). But, as one foster parent has noted on this forum, it is very often a “disruption” due to behavior management challenges or incompatibility or something similar. This is a type of move we worry about. Should we move them less? May depend on the type of move. The “disrupted” placements worry me the most. They do appear to take a toll, especially when they add up over time, as they tend to do, and sometimes with an accelerated trajectory eventuating in some sort of institutionalization. So I think we can say we should have fewer of those types of moves and disruptions. For the other types, its probably a risk/benefit balancing act. How? Well, if simply recognizing the problem and passing laws about it would be sufficient, we’d have eliminated it by now. We haven’t (although progress has been made). One solution is to simply push expedited permanency (adoption or reunification, whichever) and do so concurrently. We’ve had policies pushing that to some extent for a decade or two, and they’ve had some impact. Shorter stays = fewer total moves. Except it doesn’t always work out, and making stays shorter turns out to have its own challenges. Plus, in some cases, it takes a child that is a foster-care system “problem" and solves that problem by moving them into a different system (the adoption system, or the back-at-home system) where there may still be problems, only they are now ultimately somebody else’s problems. Which has led to some unfortunate things like the “rehoming” stories we see in the media. Then there is a somewhat different but complementary tactic--We can train and support foster parents better, and there have been nice results in the research here. For example, there are sound, scientifically-based behavioral programs demonstrated in randomized controlled trials to lower foster care placement disruptions. This includes among foster teens, school age children, and preschoolers. Plus, aside from reducing disrupted placements, these models deliver direct benefit to kids—improved behavior, better mental health, better long-term outcomes, even things like reduced teen pregnancy among adolescent girls exiting care, etc. Probably the best known work has been done by the OSLC group with the MTFC or KEEP protocols. These models are being replicated at a number of locations. For a summary of models addressing disruptions and ratings of their supporting research, see: http://www.cebc4cw.org/topic/placement-stabilization/ The bottom line is that there are things that work, other things that are promising, and we know what they are. Getting them out into the field and taken up at scale and with quality is the challenge. In other words, if you take an evidence-baed perspective when it comes to foster care disruption, the challenge is similar to many other practice areas—the question isn’t “what works?” the question is “how to get what works implemented?" Mark Mark Chaffin, PhD Professor of Public Health Georgia State University Center for Healthy Development P.O. Box 3995 Atlanta, GA 30302 (404) 413-1571 mchaffin@gsu.edu On 7/12/15, 12:03 AM, "Child Maltreatment Researchers digest" wrote: >CHILD-MALTREATMENT-RESEARCH-L Digest for Saturday, July 11, 2015. > >1. RE: Why do we move foster children so often? Should we move them less >often? How? >2. Re: Why do we move foster children so often? Should we move them less >often? How? > >---------------------------------------------------------------------- > >Subject: RE: Why do we move foster children so often? Should we move them >less often? How? >From: Lucy Hudson >Date: Sat, 11 Jul 2015 02:11:56 +0000 >X-Message-Number: 1 > >Yes, it is something we should be focusing on! ZERO TO THREE’s Safe >Babies Court Teams Project focuses on ten core components, one of which >is making the first placement the last placement. For all children, but >especially for the very youngest, their well-being hinges on having >loving reciprocal relationships with a few trusted caregivers. Every move >reduces their ability to trust adults and damages their self-esteem. The >statistics about changes in placement are skewed downward because a child >moving from one home to another within a foster care agency isn’t seen as >changing placements. > >Lucy Hudson >Director, Safe Babies Court Teams Project >ZERO TO THREE >1255 23rd Street, NW, Suite 350 >Washington, DC 20037 >202-857-2629 (office) >202-246-1276 (cell) >202-638-0851 (fax) > > > >From: bounce-119126208-8130703@list.cornell.edu >[mailto:bounce-119126208-8130703@list.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Carolee >Gadsby >Sent: Sunday, May 03, 2015 3:15 PM >To: Child Maltreatment Researchers >Subject: Re: Why do we move foster children so often? Should we move them >less often? How? > >Please excuse my response as it is blunt and I'm only a Mom. But I was a >foster mom for yrs, meet a lot of foster parents, was prez of the ass. >... The list goes on. But one thing I can tell you is some foster parents >expect the child/children to be perfect .... And when they are not... The >ask them to be moved 😥 I am very aware of this problem as I would take >the "hard to place" children in my home and also babysat during the day >for other foster parents who needed a break from the children in their >home.... Some would bring me their kids daily from 7-7 >I do know there are problems on all levels of the system but this is an >issue that truly hurts my heart. >Btw.... I adopted out at 10 kids between bio and adopted. Many of mine >are "special" ..... VERY special to me! >Carolee >:) > >Sent from my iPad > >On Apr 30, 2015, at 2:13 PM, Edward Opton >> wrote: > >Frequent changes of placement seem to be a fact of life for America's >foster children--five, ten, even twenty or more moves. > >Why? > >What can be done to reduce the frequency of moves? > >Are frequent moves beyond our control, like the fact that the sun is >visible in the daytime but cannot be seen at night, and so hardly worth >discussing? > >Or is the practice of moving children frequently worthy of investigation >and action? If so, who has written about it most cogently? > >Edward Opton, Ph.D., J.D. >PsychDrugs Action >National Center for Youth Law > >405 14th Street, 15th Floor, Oakland, CA 94612 >Phone: (510) 899-6583 >Fax: (510) 835-8099 >youthlaw.org > > > > >---------------------------------------------------------------------- > >Subject: Re: Why do we move foster children so often? Should we move them >less often? How? >From: Frank Vandervort >Date: Sat, 11 Jul 2015 15:48:08 -0400 >X-Message-Number: 2 > >The problem of placement instability has been studied since the 1970s. The >early work was done by David Fanshel and his colleagues. Their book Foster >Care: A Longitudinal Investigation was the leading early work. The early >legal work on the topic was done by Robert Mnookin (and Michael Weld). >Then referred to as "foster care drift," referring to the dual harms of >extended stays in "temporary" foster care and frequent moves within the >system, were the impetus for the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act >of 1980, which was subsequently revised in 1997 in the Adoption and Safe >Families Act. > >Many folks today do not know, but in the 1970s many state foster care >agencies as a matter of policy removed a foster child immediately if there >was any indication that the child was developing an emotional attachment >to >the foster parent. There as a very interesting presentation given by Dr. >Paul Steinhauer, probably in the late '70s, about these policies titled >"How To Succeed in the Business of Creating Psychopataths Without Even >Trying." To the best of my knowledge, it was never published (just Google >it, comes right up). It was one of the first efforts to integrate >knowledge >of attachment into our child welfare policies. > >To a very large extent, the Children's Bureau has undermined the intent >and >the effectiveness of both the 1980 and 1997 laws by focusing almost >exclusively on the "reasonable efforts to reunify" requirement, which it, >and, in turn, the field has interpreted as every imaginable effort must be >made to reunify--and then some. And every service must be offered over and >over and over. Richard Gelles's book, The Book of David and Elizabeth >Bartholet's Book Nobody's Children do a very good job of documenting much >of this history between 1980 and 1997. The result of this distortion of >the >law: kids remain in care longer than they should, they are moved about, >they become very difficult or impossible to place for adoption but can't >go >home either, they stay in care longer. > >We know this pattern all too well. > >Frank Vandervort > > >On Fri, Jul 10, 2015 at 10:11 PM, Lucy Hudson >wrote: > >> Yes, it is something we should be focusing on! ZERO TO THREE’s Safe >> Babies Court Teams Project focuses on ten core components, one of which >>is >> making the first placement the last placement. For all children, but >> especially for the very youngest, their well-being hinges on having >>loving >> reciprocal relationships with a few trusted caregivers. Every move >>reduces >> their ability to trust adults and damages their self-esteem. The >>statistics >> about changes in placement are skewed downward because a child moving >>from >> one home to another within a foster care agency isn’t seen as changing >> placements. >> >> >> >> *Lucy Hudson* >> >> *Director, Safe Babies Court Teams Project* >> >> *ZERO TO THREE* >> >> *1255 23rd Street, NW, Suite 350* >> >> *Washington, DC 20037* >> >> *202-857-2629 <202-857-2629> (office)* >> >> *202-246-1276 <202-246-1276> (cell)* >> >> *202-638-0851 <202-638-0851> (fax)* >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >> *From:* bounce-119126208-8130703@list.cornell.edu [mailto: >> bounce-119126208-8130703@list.cornell.edu] *On Behalf Of *Carolee Gadsby >> *Sent:* Sunday, May 03, 2015 3:15 PM >> *To:* Child Maltreatment Researchers >> *Subject:* Re: Why do we move foster children so often? Should we move >> them less often? How? >> >> >> >> Please excuse my response as it is blunt and I'm only a Mom. But I was a >> foster mom for yrs, meet a lot of foster parents, was prez of the ass. >>... >> The list goes on. But one thing I can tell you is some foster parents >> expect the child/children to be perfect .... And when they are not... >>The >> ask them to be moved [image: 😥] I am very aware of this problem as I >> would take the "hard to place" children in my home and also babysat >>during >> the day for other foster parents who needed a break from the children in >> their home.... Some would bring me their kids daily from 7-7 >> >> I do know there are problems on all levels of the system but this is an >> issue that truly hurts my heart. >> >> Btw.... I adopted out at 10 kids between bio and adopted. Many of mine >>are >> "special" ..... VERY special to me! >> >> Carolee >> >> :) >> >> Sent from my iPad >> >> >> On Apr 30, 2015, at 2:13 PM, Edward Opton wrote: >> >> >> Frequent changes of placement seem to be a fact of life for America's >> foster children--five, ten, even twenty or more moves. >> >> >> >> Why? >> >> >> >> What can be done to reduce the frequency of moves? >> >> >> >> Are frequent moves beyond our control, like the fact that the sun is >> visible in the daytime but cannot be seen at night, and so hardly worth >> discussing? >> >> >> >> Or is the practice of moving children frequently worthy of investigation >> and action? If so, who has written about it most cogently? >> >> >> >> *Edward Opton, Ph.D., J.D.* >> >> *PsychDrugs Action * >> >> National Center for Youth Law >> >> >> >> 405 14th Street, 15th Floor, Oakland, CA 94612 >> >> Phone: (510) 899-6583 >> >> Fax: (510) 835-8099 >> >> youthlaw.org >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >> > > >-- >Frank E. Vandervort >Clinical Professor of Law >University of Michigan Law School >701 South State Street >Ann Arbor, MI 48109 >(734) 647-3168 > > > >--- > >END OF DIGEST >

Why? Various reasons, not all of them bad. Sometimes its law or policy or a move designed to benefit the child. For example, moving from a non-family foster home to a kinship home, or a move to keep a child within their own culture, or a move to locate a child nearer their biological parents in order to enable more contact, or a move so that sibships can be in the same household. Sometimes its a move to provide a different level of services, then a move back (although I’m not sure this is a very good reason). But, as one foster parent has noted on this forum, it is very often a “disruption” due to behavior management challenges or incompatibility or something similar. This is a type of move we worry about. Should we move them less? May depend on the type of move. The “disrupted” placements worry me the most. They do appear to take a toll, especially when they add up over time, as they tend to do, and sometimes with an accelerated trajectory eventuating in some sort of institutionalization. So I think we can say we should have fewer of those types of moves and disruptions. For the other types, its probably a risk/benefit balancing act. How? Well, if simply recognizing the problem and passing laws about it would be sufficient, we’d have eliminated it by now. We haven’t (although progress has been made). One solution is to simply push expedited permanency (adoption or reunification, whichever) and do so concurrently. We’ve had policies pushing that to some extent for a decade or two, and they’ve had some impact. Shorter stays = fewer total moves. Except it doesn’t always work out, and making stays shorter turns out to have its own challenges. Plus, in some cases, it takes a child that is a foster-care system “problem" and solves that problem by moving them into a different system (the adoption system, or the back-at-home system) where there may still be problems, only they are now ultimately somebody else’s problems. Which has led to some unfortunate things like the “rehoming” stories we see in the media. Then there is a somewhat different but complementary tactic--We can train and support foster parents better, and there have been nice results in the research here. For example, there are sound, scientifically-based behavioral programs demonstrated in randomized controlled trials to lower foster care placement disruptions. This includes among foster teens, school age children, and preschoolers. Plus, aside from reducing disrupted placements, these models deliver direct benefit to kids—improved behavior, better mental health, better long-term outcomes, even things like reduced teen pregnancy among adolescent girls exiting care, etc. Probably the best known work has been done by the OSLC group with the MTFC or KEEP protocols. These models are being replicated at a number of locations. For a summary of models addressing disruptions and ratings of their supporting research, see: http://www.cebc4cw.org/topic/placement-stabilization/ The bottom line is that there are things that work, other things that are promising, and we know what they are. Getting them out into the field and taken up at scale and with quality is the challenge. In other words, if you take an evidence-baed perspective when it comes to foster care disruption, the challenge is similar to many other practice areas—the question isn’t “what works?” the question is “how to get what works implemented?" Mark Mark Chaffin, PhD Professor of Public Health Georgia State University Center for Healthy Development P.O. Box 3995 Atlanta, GA 30302 (404) 413-1571 mchaffingsu.edu On 7/12/15, 12:03 AM, "Child Maltreatment Researchers digest" wrote: >CHILD-MALTREATMENT-RESEARCH-L Digest for Saturday, July 11, 2015. > >1. RE: Why do we move foster children so often? Should we move them less >often? How? >2. Re: Why do we move foster children so often? Should we move them less >often? How? > >---------------------------------------------------------------------- > >Subject: RE: Why do we move foster children so often? Should we move them >less often? How? >From: Lucy Hudson >Date: Sat, 11 Jul 2015 02:11:56 +0000 >X-Message-Number: 1 > >Yes, it is something we should be focusing on! ZERO TO THREE’s Safe >Babies Court Teams Project focuses on ten core components, one of which >is making the first placement the last placement. For all children, but >especially for the very youngest, their well-being hinges on having >loving reciprocal relationships with a few trusted caregivers. Every move >reduces their ability to trust adults and damages their self-esteem. The >statistics about changes in placement are skewed downward because a child >moving from one home to another within a foster care agency isn’t seen as >changing placements. > >Lucy Hudson >Director, Safe Babies Court Teams Project >ZERO TO THREE >1255 23rd Street, NW, Suite 350 >Washington, DC 20037 >202-857-2629 (office) >202-246-1276 (cell) >202-638-0851 (fax) > > > >From: bounce-119126208-8130703list.cornell.edu >[mailto:bounce-119126208-8130703list.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Carolee >Gadsby >Sent: Sunday, May 03, 2015 3:15 PM >To: Child Maltreatment Researchers >Subject: Re: Why do we move foster children so often? Should we move them >less often? How? > >Please excuse my response as it is blunt and I'm only a Mom. But I was a >foster mom for yrs, meet a lot of foster parents, was prez of the ass. >... The list goes on. But one thing I can tell you is some foster parents >expect the child/children to be perfect .... And when they are not... The >ask them to be moved 😥 I am very aware of this problem as I would take >the "hard to place" children in my home and also babysat during the day >for other foster parents who needed a break from the children in their >home.... Some would bring me their kids daily from 7-7 >I do know there are problems on all levels of the system but this is an >issue that truly hurts my heart. >Btw.... I adopted out at 10 kids between bio and adopted. Many of mine >are "special" ..... VERY special to me! >Carolee >:) > >Sent from my iPad > >On Apr 30, 2015, at 2:13 PM, Edward Opton >> wrote: > >Frequent changes of placement seem to be a fact of life for America's >foster children--five, ten, even twenty or more moves. > >Why? > >What can be done to reduce the frequency of moves? > >Are frequent moves beyond our control, like the fact that the sun is >visible in the daytime but cannot be seen at night, and so hardly worth >discussing? > >Or is the practice of moving children frequently worthy of investigation >and action? If so, who has written about it most cogently? > >Edward Opton, Ph.D., J.D. >PsychDrugs Action >National Center for Youth Law > >405 14th Street, 15th Floor, Oakland, CA 94612 >Phone: (510) 899-6583 >Fax: (510) 835-8099 >youthlaw.org > > > > >---------------------------------------------------------------------- > >Subject: Re: Why do we move foster children so often? Should we move them >less often? How? >From: Frank Vandervort >Date: Sat, 11 Jul 2015 15:48:08 -0400 >X-Message-Number: 2 > >The problem of placement instability has been studied since the 1970s. The >early work was done by David Fanshel and his colleagues. Their book Foster >Care: A Longitudinal Investigation was the leading early work. The early >legal work on the topic was done by Robert Mnookin (and Michael Weld). >Then referred to as "foster care drift," referring to the dual harms of >extended stays in "temporary" foster care and frequent moves within the >system, were the impetus for the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act >of 1980, which was subsequently revised in 1997 in the Adoption and Safe >Families Act. > >Many folks today do not know, but in the 1970s many state foster care >agencies as a matter of policy removed a foster child immediately if there >was any indication that the child was developing an emotional attachment >to >the foster parent. There as a very interesting presentation given by Dr. >Paul Steinhauer, probably in the late '70s, about these policies titled >"How To Succeed in the Business of Creating Psychopataths Without Even >Trying." To the best of my knowledge, it was never published (just Google >it, comes right up). It was one of the first efforts to integrate >knowledge >of attachment into our child welfare policies. > >To a very large extent, the Children's Bureau has undermined the intent >and >the effectiveness of both the 1980 and 1997 laws by focusing almost >exclusively on the "reasonable efforts to reunify" requirement, which it, >and, in turn, the field has interpreted as every imaginable effort must be >made to reunify--and then some. And every service must be offered over and >over and over. Richard Gelles's book, The Book of David and Elizabeth >Bartholet's Book Nobody's Children do a very good job of documenting much >of this history between 1980 and 1997. The result of this distortion of >the >law: kids remain in care longer than they should, they are moved about, >they become very difficult or impossible to place for adoption but can't >go >home either, they stay in care longer. > >We know this pattern all too well. > >Frank Vandervort > > >On Fri, Jul 10, 2015 at 10:11 PM, Lucy Hudson >wrote: > >> Yes, it is something we should be focusing on! ZERO TO THREE’s Safe >> Babies Court Teams Project focuses on ten core components, one of which >>is >> making the first placement the last placement. For all children, but >> especially for the very youngest, their well-being hinges on having >>loving >> reciprocal relationships with a few trusted caregivers. Every move >>reduces >> their ability to trust adults and damages their self-esteem. The >>statistics >> about changes in placement are skewed downward because a child moving >>from >> one home to another within a foster care agency isn’t seen as changing >> placements. >> >> >> >> *Lucy Hudson* >> >> *Director, Safe Babies Court Teams Project* >> >> *ZERO TO THREE* >> >> *1255 23rd Street, NW, Suite 350* >> >> *Washington, DC 20037* >> >> *202-857-2629 <202-857-2629> (office)* >> >> *202-246-1276 <202-246-1276> (cell)* >> >> *202-638-0851 <202-638-0851> (fax)* >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >> *From:* bounce-119126208-8130703list.cornell.edu [mailto: >> bounce-119126208-8130703list.cornell.edu] *On Behalf Of *Carolee Gadsby >> *Sent:* Sunday, May 03, 2015 3:15 PM >> *To:* Child Maltreatment Researchers >> *Subject:* Re: Why do we move foster children so often? Should we move >> them less often? How? >> >> >> >> Please excuse my response as it is blunt and I'm only a Mom. But I was a >> foster mom for yrs, meet a lot of foster parents, was prez of the ass. >>... >> The list goes on. But one thing I can tell you is some foster parents >> expect the child/children to be perfect .... And when they are not... >>The >> ask them to be moved [image: 😥] I am very aware of this problem as I >> would take the "hard to place" children in my home and also babysat >>during >> the day for other foster parents who needed a break from the children in >> their home.... Some would bring me their kids daily from 7-7 >> >> I do know there are problems on all levels of the system but this is an >> issue that truly hurts my heart. >> >> Btw.... I adopted out at 10 kids between bio and adopted. Many of mine >>are >> "special" ..... VERY special to me! >> >> Carolee >> >> :) >> >> Sent from my iPad >> >> >> On Apr 30, 2015, at 2:13 PM, Edward Opton wrote: >> >> >> Frequent changes of placement seem to be a fact of life for America's >> foster children--five, ten, even twenty or more moves. >> >> >> >> Why? >> >> >> >> What can be done to reduce the frequency of moves? >> >> >> >> Are frequent moves beyond our control, like the fact that the sun is >> visible in the daytime but cannot be seen at night, and so hardly worth >> discussing? >> >> >> >> Or is the practice of moving children frequently worthy of investigation >> and action? If so, who has written about it most cogently? >> >> >> >> *Edward Opton, Ph.D., J.D.* >> >> *PsychDrugs Action * >> >> National Center for Youth Law >> >> >> >> 405 14th Street, 15th Floor, Oakland, CA 94612 >> >> Phone: (510) 899-6583 >> >> Fax: (510) 835-8099 >> >> youthlaw.org >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >> > > >-- >Frank E. Vandervort >Clinical Professor of Law >University of Michigan Law School >701 South State Street >Ann Arbor, MI 48109 >(734) 647-3168 > > > >--- > >END OF DIGEST >