Securing Child Safety, Well-being, and Permanency Through Placement Stability in Foster Care

Download Material

This Evidence to Action brief identifies action steps that can be taken by state and federal policy makers  that could improve placement stability for children in foster care, thereby improving the health, educational, and social-emotional outcomes for these children.

Placement instability is harming children in foster care. Nationally, two-thirds of children who are in foster care for more than a year experience three or more placements. While placement stability is often considered a well-bring issue, it also raises safety concerns, especially in the context of rapid placement moves. Aside form the problems experienced before entering out-of-home care, placement instability increases the risk of poor health, educational, and social-emotional outcomes. The recently enacted Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act requires states to enhance efforts to find permanent homes for children and ensure fewer disruptions in medical care and schooling. State will not be able to meet the stability requirements stipulated in Fostering Connections and secure better outcomes for children unless policies and practices to promote placement stability are strengthened.

This Evidence to Action brief reports Year 1 findings from the Children’s Stability and Well-Being Study (CSAW) at PolicyLab. CSAW is tracking, in partnership with the City of Philadelphia, 450 children in the Philadelphia child welfare system to identify intervention opportunities that may improve placement stability and thereby improve outcomes for children.


Kathleen Noonan, David Rubin, Robin Mekonnen, Sarah Zlotnik, and Amanda O’Reilly