A comparison of foster care outcomes across four child welfare agencies

Matthew Mason, Lynn M. Castrianno, Christy Kessler, Linda Holmstrand, Jonathan Huefner, Vince Payne, Peter J. Pecora, Sheila Schmaltz, Misty Stenslie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


A post-discharge outcomes interview for alumni of foster care was designed by four peer foster care agencies. Across all four agencies, 222 alumni were interviewed six months after being discharged from foster care services. Outcome domains, based on common measurement practices in child welfare and on social validation studies, include type of living environment (e.g., restrictiveness), placement stability, homelessness, school performance, employment, self-sufficiency, aggression, criminal behavior, substance use, relationships, community involvement, protection from harm, satisfaction, and impact of services. Results of the outcomes were compared to nationally sampled studies of children not in care. Generally, alumni reported positive outcomes across the various domains. The type of foster care, length of care, and age of alumni influenced the results. Implications for expanding this study to establish national benchmarks for outcomes, service use, and cost in foster care conclude the article.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-72
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Family Social Work
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 10 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Benchmarking
  • Foster care
  • Outcomes
  • QOLA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


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