Placement preferences among children living in foster or kinship care: A cluster analysis

Darcey H. Merritt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This research provides a longitudinal assessment regarding children's placement preferences, distinguishing between what children prefer to be permanent home situations and what children expect will be permanent situations. Cluster analysis was used in an effort to classify the responses of 1313 children, ages 6-14, in foster or kinship care, over a three year period, regarding placement preferences. Results of the cluster analyses indicate classification in the following four groups of permanency preferences: 1) I don't want to be here/going home; 2) I can stay here, but I don't want to/going home; 3) I can stay here and I want to, but no adoption; and 4) I can stay here and I want to, with adoption. Findings indicate that across waves of data collection, children express a sense of belonging in their foster homes. Older children were more agreeable to their current placements as long as there was no option of permanency/adoption. Also, White children were more likely to prefer and expect to go home. This research provides great utility in evaluative efforts that include listening to the voices of the children by encouraging their participation in case planning and service evaluation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1336-1344
Number of pages9
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2008


  • Cluster analysis
  • Foster care
  • Permanency
  • Placement outcomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Placement preferences among children living in foster or kinship care: A cluster analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this