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Running Away from Out-of-Home Care: A Multilevel Analysis
Year Published: 2015
Children & Society
Research suggests that the likelihood of runaway episodes among children in out-of-home care varies across different communities/regions. However, few studies have addressed the potential influence of social contexts on runaway behaviors among children in out-of-home care. These authors examined the effects of child-, family-, and child welfare system-related characteristics on the likelihood of runaway episodes among children in out-of-home care, while accounting for county-level variations in the risk of runaway behaviors. They conducted multilevel analyses using data on children aged 12–17 from the 2009 Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) database. Results show that the likelihood of runaway episodes varied across counties. After accounting for this variation, children’s ages, gender, diagnosed clinical conditions, family structures, number of removals, number of placements, manner of removal, and case plan goals significantly predicted runaway status. Findings have implications for improving efforts to prevent children from running away from out-of-home care. Modified Author Abstract.