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ERIC Number: EJ796432
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 17
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1054-8289
Safety and Stability for Foster Children: A Developmental Perspective
Harden, Brenda Jones
Future of Children, v14 n1 p31-47 Win 2004
Children in foster care face a challenging journey through childhood. In addition to the troubling family circumstances that bring them into state care, they face additional difficulties within the child welfare system that may further compromise their healthy development. This article discusses the importance of safety and stability to healthy child development and reviews the research on the risks associated with maltreatment and the foster care experience. It finds: (1) Family stability is best viewed as a process of caregiving practices that, when present, can greatly facilitate healthy child development; (2) Children in foster care, as a result of exposure to risk factors such as poverty, maltreatment, and the foster care experience, face multiple threats to their healthy development, including poor physical health, attachment disorders, compromised brain functioning, inadequate social skills, and mental health difficulties; and (3) Providing stable and nurturing families can bolster the resilience of children in care and ameliorate negative impacts on their developmental outcomes. The author concludes that developmentally-sensitive child welfare policies and practices designed to promote the well-being of the whole child, such as ongoing screening and assessment and coordinated systems of care, are needed to facilitate the healthy development of children in foster care. (Contains 90 endnotes.)
Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and The Brookings Institution. 267 Wallace Hall, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544. Tel: 609-258-6979; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A