Effects of State Foster Care Licensure Regimes on Foster Placement Settings and Outcomes
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
The current study examines the extent to which licensure standards act as a barrier to kinship placements overall, or as a barrier to Title IV-E eligible kinship placements. Moreover, I assess whether receipt of IV-E reimbursement (an indicator of licensure) and strength of licensure standards influence placement disruption risk, which is a key federal performance measure and an important factor in child well-being. Specifically, I address 3 questions: (1) Is the strictness or content of state licensure regimes associated with the probability that a child entering foster care will be placed with a relative?; (2) Is the strictness or content of state licensure regimes associated with the probability that a child in kinship care will receive IV-E reimbursement payments?; (3) Does placement disruption risk differ among placements not receiving IV-E payments, placements receiving payments under less restrictive standards, and placements receiving payments under strong standards?
This study uses years 2008-2012 of the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS), which includes all foster children in all states. I link these data with state-level policy variables, primarily obtained from the U.S. Children’s Bureau’s Child Welfare Information Gateway. The primary method of data analysis will be hierarchical logistic regression. Preliminary results suggest that strong licensure standards do not act as a barrier to kinship care placements overall, but they are associated with a lower probability that a kin placement will be receive IV-E reimbursement payments. The results of this study will provide important insight into how licensure standards are being enforced and whether they have any relation to child well-being.