A Functional Approach to Reducing Runaway Behavior and Stabilizing Placements for Adolescents in Foster Care

Clark, H. B.,
Crosland, K. A.,
Geller, D.,
Cripe, M.,
Kenney, T.,
Neff, B.,
Dunlap, G.
Year Published: 2008
Journal Article
Journal Name: 
Research on Social Work Practice
Volume: 18

Issue: 5
Sage Publications

Running away from foster placement can expose youth to harm and often leads to more restrictive placements. These authors describe a functional, behavior analytic approach used to address the runaway behaviors of youth who met criteria for habitually running away. The approach includes assessing the motivations for running, involving the youth in the assessment process, and implementing interventions to enhance the reinforcing value of placements for adolescents. First, the authors present a case study illustrating this approach. Then, they present a study comparing 13 adolescents who ran away frequently and received interventions with a comparison group who had similar patterns of running but received only services as usual. There was a significant reduction in the percentage of days on runaway status for those in the functional group only. The authors discuss the potential benefits of the functional approach for improving safety, permanence, and connections for foster youth. Modified Author Abstract.

rsw.sagepub.com/content/18/5.toc, or https://www.optumhealthnewmexico.com/provider/pdf/RSWP_Runaway_Article.pdf
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