Study Shows Kids are Better off in their Home instead of Foster Care, But We know it is all about the money


Study: Troubled homes better than foster care
Updated 7/3/2007 6:55 AM | Comments 49 | Recommend 57 E-mail | Save | Print | Reprints & Permissions |

FAMILY INFLUENCE

Children who stay in troubled families fare better than those put into foster care. Those who:

Were arrested at least once:
• Stayed with family: 14%
• Went to foster care: 44%

Became teen mothers:
• Stayed with family: 33%
• Went to foster care: 56%

Held a job at least 3 months:
• Stayed with family: 33%
• Went to foster care: 20%

Source: Study by Joseph Doyle, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

ADOPTION AND FOSTER CARE

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By Wendy Koch, USA TODAY
Children whose families are investigated for abuse or neglect are likely to do better in life if they stay with their families than if they go into foster care, according to a pioneering study.
The findings intensify a vigorous debate in child welfare: whether children are better served with their families or away from them.

RELATED: Record numbers of foster kids leave program as adults

Kids who stayed with their families were less likely to become juvenile delinquents or teen mothers and more likely to hold jobs as young adults, says the study by Joseph Doyle, an economics professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management who studies social policy.

“The size of the effects surprised me, because all the children come from tough families,” Doyle says. The National Science Foundation funded the study.

Doyle says his research, which tracked at least 15,000 kids from 1990 to 2002, is the largest study to look at the effects of foster care. He studied kids in Illinois because of a database there that links abuse investigations to other government records.

To avoid results attributable to family background, he screened out extreme cases of abuse or neglect and studied kids whose cases could have gone either way.

Studies, including those by Mark Courtney while at the University of Chicago’s Chapin Hall Center for Children, show that the 500,000 children in U.S. foster care are more likely than other kids to drop out of school, commit crimes, abuse drugs and become teen parents.

His research has shown that this holds true even when foster kids are compared with other disadvantaged youth.

MORE: Number of single men adopting foster kids doubles

Doyle’s study, however, provides “the first viable, empirical evidence” of the benefits of keeping kids with their families, says Gary Stangler, executive director of the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, a foundation for foster teens. Stangler says it looked at kids over a longer period of time than had other studies.

“It confirms what experience and observation tell us: Kids who can remain in their homes do better than in foster care,” says Stangler. He says some kids, for their own safety, need to be removed from their families, but in marginal cases of abuse, more should be done to keep them together.

Smaller studies have found kids from abusive families do better in foster care. “There are high rates of re-abuse” for those reunited with parents, says Heather Taussig, a pediatrics professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

Taussig co-authored a study in 2001 that found kids reunited with families after a brief stay in foster care were more likely to abuse drugs, get arrested, drop out of school and have lower grades than those who stayed in foster care. She followed 149 youths in San Diego over a 6-year period.

Taussig says case workers shouldn’t assume that keeping kids with relatives is better.

“We need more research,” she says.

Doyle says foster care remains a needed safety net for some kids but he agrees that it merits further study.

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About yvonnemason

Background:  The eldest of five children, Yvonne was born May 17, 1951 in Atlanta, Georgia. Raised in East Point, Georgia, she moved to Jackson County, Ga. until 2006 then moved to Port St. Lucie, Florida where she currently makes her home.  Licensed bounty hunter for the state of Georgia. Education:  After a 34 year absence, returned to college in 2004. Graduated with honors in Criminal Justice with an Associate’s degree from Lanier Technical College in 2006. Awards:  Nominated for the prestigious GOAL award in 2005 which encompasses all of the technical colleges. This award is based not only on excellence in academics but also leadership, positive attitude and the willingness to excel in one’s major. Affiliations:  Beta Sigma Phi Sorority  Member of The Florida Writer’s Association – Group Leader for St Lucie County The Dream:  Since learning to write at the age of five, Yvonne has wanted to be an author. She wrote her first novel Stan’s Story beginning in 1974 and completed it in 2006. Publication seemed impossible as rejections grew to 10 years. Determined, she continued adding to the story until her dream came true in 2006. The Inspiration:  Yvonne’s brother Stan has been her inspiration and hero in every facet of her life. He was stricken with Encephalitis at the tender age of nine months. He has defied every roadblock placed in his way and has been the driving force in every one of her accomplishments. He is the one who taught her never to give up The Author: Yvonne is currently the author of several novels, including:  Stan’s Story- the true story of her brother’s accomplishments, it has been compared to the style of Capote, and is currently being rewritten with new information for re-release.  Tangled Minds - a riveting story about a young girl’s bad decision and how it taints everyone’s life around her yet still manages to show that hope is always possible. This novel has been compared to the writing of Steinbeck and is currently being written as a screenplay. This novel will be re-released by Kerlak Publishing in 2009  Brilliant Insanity – released by Kerlak Publishing October 2008  Silent Scream – Released by Lulu.com October 2008- Slated to be made into a movie Yvonne’s Philosophy in Life - “Pay it Forward”: “In this life we all have been helped by others to attain our dreams and goals. We cannot pay it back but what we can do is ‘pay it forward’. It is a simple
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