Predictors of Running Away from Out-of-Home Care: Does County Context Matter?
This journal article presents a study that used child-level placement data from the Multistate Foster Care Data Archive (n=53,610) to examine the incidence of running away during the first out-of-home care placement among adolescents. The authors found that 17 percent who entered out-of-home care for the first time ran away at least once during their first spell. Consistent with prior research, this study shows the rate at which youth run away once in foster care varies by gender, race/ethnicity, age, and placement type. The findings suggest that county context (i.e., population density and socioeconomic disadvantage) matters, although the authors recommend additional research to better understand these relationships. In addition, they found evidence that using a screening or risk assessment process for youth entering out-of-home care may reduce the incidence of running away.