January 2018

Between People and Places: Reducing Upheaval for Children Moving Around in Connecticut Foster Care

Stephanie Luczak, Nicole Updegrove, Lauren Ruth, Ph.D.

For any child, moving to a new place can evoke uncertainty and anxiety. For foster children, a placement change, moving to a new foster home, is a potential source of upheaval. In this report, we analyze the consequences of the disruption in foster youth, provide an overview of best practices to minimize their impact, and offer a list of policy changes that could help increase stability for children and youth in state care.

Key findings: 

  • Older youth and children who have been in foster care longer tend to experience more placement changes.

  • A vicious cycle: youth who have experienced repeated placement changes often show maladaptive behavior, which may contribute to more instability in future placements.

  • With one fewer placement change per year, youth are 1.8 times more likely to graduate high school.

  • Experiencing multiple placements in childhood is associated with lower life satisfaction, low self-efficacy, and more criminal convictions in adulthood.

  • In Connecticut, youth experience an average of moves per 1,000 days in foster care, compared to the 4.12 national average.

This report was updated on February 6, 2018, to reflect one new piece of data and clarification concerning the population of children included within the CFSR placement stability rate.

Issue Area:
Child Welfare