Unaccompanied migrant children in the United States: Predictors of placement stability in long term foster care

Report Author: 
Crea, T. M., Lopez, A., Taylor, T., Underwood, D.
Original Date of Publication: 
May, 2017

Beginning in 2011, there was an increase of unaccompanied children from the Central American Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras,) entering the U.S. While many children were placed with adult sponsors, about 5%-35% remain in long term foster care (LTFC) waiting for deportation hearings. Research has shown that instability in the foster system such as moving frequently has led to poor outcomes. Unaccompanied children experience possible trauma during pre-migration, during migration, and post-migration as a result of forced displacement due to violence in their home countries, including abuse, exploitation, and rape. This study examined data from unaccompanied children served by the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) from 2012 to 2015. Findings show that girls were more likely to change placements, and those who experienced violence in their countries of origin were twice as likely to move. It is imperative that social services agencies are cognizant of the multi-layered experiences of unaccompanied children and strive for culturally competent and trauma-informed care when working with unaccompanied children in LTFC. (Immigrant Integration Lab at Boston College)

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 Predictors of placement stability in long term foster care



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