Poverty and child well-being in foster care: Exploring family stress and adolescent behavior in Washington State
Packard, William Benjamin
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Poverty defines the lives of most families in the child welfare system. Children are more likely to be removed from poorer families. In the Family Stress Model, economic stress influences child well-being in biological families, and is hypothesized to be associated with foster youth well-being in foster families. Descriptive statistics from a sample of 64 caregiver and adolescent dyads are presented. 30% of families live below the federal poverty guideline (FPG). 84% of families have insufficient income. While no significant differences were observed in child wellbeing among families by income, a trend level difference was observed between foster youth feeling alienated from their caregiver in families below FPG and families with sufficient income. Statistical power was limited, and replication is needed. Policy recommendations include increasing financial resources to families to enhance child well-being as a way to achieve the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare’s 12 Grand Challenges.