Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Robert Brashear

Second Advisor

Dr. Raymond Lish

Third Advisor

Dr. Joseph Morris

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Edward Trembley


This research was designed to investigate the outcomes of foster care placements involving delinquent youth placed by a juvenile court in regular foster family homes and more specialized treatment group homes (TGH). Forty predictor variables were identified through a survey of probation officers and a review of the literature. The major research question was to determine which of these variables were significantly associated with outcome of foster care placements. A second research question was to determine whether there were different variables related to foster family placement outcomes as compared to TGH placement outcomes.

The case records of 233 youth removed from foster family (n = 132) and TGH (n = 101) placements between 1980-1984 comprised the sample for this study. Stepwise multiple regression analysis of the data, using the .05 level of significance, was employed with the total data set and the foster family and TGH samples separately to identify variables most strongly associated with placement outcomes.

Among the study's central findings: (1) placement outcomes appeared most strongly related to the ability of court staff and foster parents to handle the day-day problems of youth in foster care in a timely and effective manner; (2) successful outcomes occured more often in cases where the probation officer invested more energy to support the foster parents which appeared based, in part, on higher levels of rapport between the foster parents and court personnel; (3) the relative absence of aggressive and impulsive behavior by youth was related to outcomes in foster family homes whereas the youth's ability to form positive peer relationships appeared more important in TGH outcomes. Additional findings are reported in the dissertation.

An additional goal of the study was to develop regression equations which would yield a predicted outcome of foster care. Based on the analysis of pre-placement variables related to the delinquent youth and family, four Predictive Index Scales, incorporating the regression equations, were developed for use as one tool in the assessment process.

Future research is suggested to study the hypothesis that there may be a relationship between placement outcome and a critical level of rapport and cooperation between foster parents and court personnel which varies according to the type of child.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access