Out of home placement (OOHP) of welfare involved children is a critical problem associated with child abuse and neglect and household dysfunction. Few studies have also implicated greater instability in OOHP with more negative outcomes. However, several gaps remain.
Objectives were twofold. To identify combinations of adverse childhood experiences that are associated with OOHP—based on both duration of OOHP and change in actual placement during each time point, among welfare involved youth. The second objective was to understand long-term negative outcomes during adolescence that are associated with greater placement instability.
Data come from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Wellbeing (n = 1657). Multinomial logistic regression was used to evaluate adverse childhood experiences that were associated with specific patterns of OOHP. Multivariate regression models were estimated to evaluate delinquency, aggression as well as depressive and trauma symptoms during adolescence that were associated with specific patterns of OOHP.
There were six categories of OOHP found in the sample: (1) no OOHP, (2) OOHP one time, (3) OOHP two times, (4) OOHP two times with change in placements, (5) OOHP three times, and (6) OOHP three times with change in placement. Longer duration of OOHP was associated with more adversity exposure. Longer duration and more change in placement were associated with the most negative outcomes.
Findings demonstrate the need for future testing of these findings in prevention trials.