College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Summer 8-17-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Patrick Fowler, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Karen Budd Ph.D.


Child welfare services' current practice is to attempt to identify kinship foster settings first when removing a child from their home, a practice used disproportionately for African American youth. In this study, potential contextual factors of foster homes (i.e., community environment, caregiver's age, caregiver's physical health) were identified as possible moderators of the relationship between the type of out-of-home placement (i.e., kinship, other out-of-home placement) used and changes in internalizing and externalizing scores in African American youth. Results confirm a significant increase in internalizing and externalizing scores when youth are placed in kinship foster homes with caregivers who are older and in poorer health. In addition, kinship foster placements were preventative of increases in internalizing scores at 18-month follow-up. Results of this study are important in illustrating the need for child welfare services to consider multiple factors when choosing appropriate settings for youth removed from their homes.