“Approximately 95% of foster children experience at least one placement disruption while in out-of-home care, and the adverse effects of these disruptions on psychosocial functioning are well-documented,” said researchers who recently conducted a study to examine the effectiveness of the Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care for Preschoolers (MTFC-P). The MTFC-P is an intervention designed to improve social behaviors, strengthen learning and reduce cognitive delays. Additionally, this program provides continuous support to caregivers to help mitigate behavior problems and increase permanent placements. “Moreover,” added the researchers, “recent evidence has suggested that such disruptions are also associated with negative effects on brain development.” A team from the Oregon Social Learning Center, the University of Oregon and Oregon State University employed the Parent Daily Report Checklist (PDR), a telephone interview designed to evaluate problem behavior in children receiving foster care, to measure the effectiveness of the MTFC-P.
Half of the 117 children in the study were placed in the treatment foster care (TFC), while the other half received regular foster care (RFC). The caregivers completed the PDR interviews, which involved identifying disruptive behaviors, twice each month during the first three months of placement. The results revealed that children in the RFC group had an increased risk of placement disruption that was 2.7 times higher than the children in the TFC group. “We found that foster caregiver reports of child problem behavior during the first 3 months in a new placement predicted placement disruptions over 12 months for the RFC group but not for the TFC group,” said the team. “Identifying young foster children at risk for problem behavior related placement disruptions has substantial policy implications.” They added, “First, identifying such children in preschool could increase the effectiveness of preventative interventions and thereby reduce the financial and psychological costs of placement disruptions. Several researchers have shown that interventions focused on child behavior management and foster caregiver skills reduce problem behavior and promote placement stability.”
Fisher, Philip A., Mike Stoolmiller, Anne M. Mannering, Aiko Takahashi, and Patricia Chamberlain. “Foster Placement Disruptions Associated With Problem Behavior: Mitigating a Threshold Effect.” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 79.4 (2011): 481-87. Print.
© Copyright 2011 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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