Should I stay or should I go? Correlates of children's placement preferences

Darcey H. Merritt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Examining factors that influence perceptions of foster children contributes rich information to scholars studying issues concerning child well-being and successful adjustment in transitional environments. Grounded in attachment theory and social capital theory, the predicting constructs were measured as the strength of bonds between foster children and foster parents and the availability and access to resources. This research investigated the association of sociodemographic characteristics, attachment to caregivers, and levels of social capital with permanency preferences and placement expectations of 317 children, ages 6-14 years, in foster or kinship care. Generalized ordered logistic regressions indicate children with access to other relatives for help with a serious problem are more likely to be classified in the group who want permanency with adoption at their current placements. Older children are less likely than younger children to ultimately want to go home versus adopted. In addition, children with higher versus lower behavior-scale scores are less likely to want to go home rather than being adopted by the current family.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)408-425
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Public Child Welfare
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 2011


  • Attachment
  • Child maltreatment
  • Permanency preferences
  • Social capital

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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