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home care. Child Welfare, 87(6), 71-91.
This study leads with the assertion that multiple foster care placements are detrimental to "brain growth, psychological adjustment, and mental development" (which the American Academy of Pediatrics reported in 2000) (Eggertsen, p. 71). Eggertsen's research also claims multiple foster care placements contribute to an individual's "instability… [and] behavioral disturbances" and leads to "impaired school functioning." The question most apt in this context is, how can an adult -- who has been placed in multiple family settings during an unstable childhood and adolescence -- be expected to succeed in educational and career pursuits? Brain growth is a vital part of psychological and physiological development, but when the brain is not fully mature and functioning normally the child may be headed for a troubled adulthood, according to the literature.
This study involved 6,432 children (3,183 females; 3,140 males) who had been placed in foster care homes during the years 2000, 2001, and 2002 in Utah. The average age of participants was 8.17 but they ranged up to 20 years of age (p. 72). Of the 6,432 children, 4,917 had been removed from urban areas and placed in rural areas, and 1,426 had been removed from rural areas and transplanted to urban environments. As to the health issues, "Participants with major health problems were more than 60% more likely" to have been placed in multiple foster homes. Unhealthy bodies certainly are less apt to have success in school and in later life -- hence one of the results of this study aid in understanding poor performance in school. The existence of mental health problems "…more than doubled the likelihood" that an individual had experienced 3 or more placements (p. 73). The theoretical framework for this research is that multiple placement experiences for foster youth lead to stunted intellectual and emotional growth -- and those factors in many cases prevent an individual from solid education and training experiences.