Assumptions about what is best for children with social care involvement are often made by professionals, yet few studies have systematically asked youth about their perceptions and even fewer studies have explored how their perspectives may change over time. This study, Fostering Healthy Futures, asked 200 preadolescent children a series of questions about the difficulties and helpfulness of placement in foster care and whether their lives would have been be better/the same/worse if they had never been placed. They also rated how they felt about the amount of information they got from their social workers and whether or not they had enough input about decisions that affected their lives while in foster care. Study participants were then re-interviewed approximately 10 years later when they were between the ages of 18-22 and asked the same questions. In adulthood, participants also responded to a qualitative question that asked how they would change the foster care system.

Heather spoke about how perceptions may have changed over time and whether they differed as a function of gender, race, ethnicity, type of maltreatment and placement, ACEs, emancipation/reunification, and baseline mental health functioning. The talk also shared participants’ ideas for improving children’s social care.

Presenter: Prof. Heather Taussig, University of Denver

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