Research Conducted in Chicago and Los Angeles Focuses on Runaway Foster Care Youth
CHICAGO, April 28, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As National Foster Care Month approaches in May, new research reveals the experiences of runaway foster care youth. Runaway youth were more likely to have exited and re-entered the foster care system and had more placements on average than the typical youth in foster care according to research conducted and compiled for the National Runaway Switchboard (NRS) by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC).
The report, "Running Away from Foster Care: Youths' Knowledge and Access of Services," was gathered from one-on-one interviews with 50 youth in their current foster care placement in Chicago and Los Angeles from December 2008 through July 2009.
According to the report, a primary motivation for some foster care youth to run away is unique from typical runaways in that they want to be with their biological family and friends. The other main reasons are a conflict with or feeling unsafe in their current placements. While getting these issues off their chest may help prevent a runaway situation, some youth in the study felt that they could not talk to their foster care parents, caseworkers did not visit often enough or talk to youth about their problems, and there is a fast turnover of therapists.
"Understanding more about foster care youth running away helps us target outreach and prevention strategies to help them," said Maureen Blaha, NRS executive director. "The National Runaway Switchboard offers free resources with relevant information for youth, foster parents and service providers."
Additional key findings from the interviews conducted with runaway foster care youth include:
More than half ran away from their foster care placements within the first six months.
Most had run away from foster care multiple times; one quarter had run away more than 10 times.
They tend to stay with friends and relatives when they run away; only a small portion ever slept overnight on the street or in a public place.