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Impact of foster care on sexual activity of maltreated youth Monica Faulkner, PhD, LMSW Center for Social Work Research The University of Texas at Austin.

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Presentation on theme: "Impact of foster care on sexual activity of maltreated youth Monica Faulkner, PhD, LMSW Center for Social Work Research The University of Texas at Austin."— Presentation transcript:

1 Impact of foster care on sexual activity of maltreated youth Monica Faulkner, PhD, LMSW Center for Social Work Research The University of Texas at Austin

2 Problem 70% of female children in foster care will be pregnant by the age of 21 Nationally, 30% of females are pregnant by the age of 20 (Bilaver & Courtney, 2006)

3 Prior research Some international studies – High pregnancy rates in other countries – Barriers pregnant/parenting teens face Non-peer reviewed reports – Large numbers of teen parents in care Empirical studies – Primarily non-nationally representative samples – Define & confirm high pregnancy rates – Document problems pregnant/ parenting teens encounter in care

4 Gaps in literature How do risk and protective factors impact sexual activity and pregnancy over time for maltreated females? In addition to foster care, how do changes in caregivers impact sexual health behaviors? What are the factors that help determine whether a girl will remain abstinent?

5 Research questions Overall research question: How does foster care impact sexual activity and pregnancy for maltreated youth? Overall research question: How does foster care impact sexual activity and pregnancy for maltreated youth? 1 Are there differences in sexual activity and pregnancy based on placement in foster care? 2 Do foster care, caregiver changes and risk and protective factors predict sexual activity?

6 Data National Study of Child and Adolescent Wellbeing (NSCAW) CPS sample Waves 1, 3 & 4

7 Variables Dependent variable – Sexual activity: abstinent, sexually active, pregnant Primary independent variables – Foster care placement – Caregiver changes Additional independent variables – Problems in family of origin – Child maltreatment – Race – Risk factors

8 Sample CPS sample of NSCAW N=5,501Exclude 2,732 males (n=2769) Exclude 2,086 females who were under age 11 at wave 1 (n=683) Exclude 187 females who were not living with permanent caregiver at wave 1 (n=496)

9 Analyses Are there differences in sexual activity and pregnancy based on placement in foster care? Descriptive statistics, t- tests, chi-square Do foster care, caregiver changes and risk and protective factors predict sexual activity? Multinomial regression

10 Results: Chi square Foster care (n=123; 20.27%) Not in foster care (n=373; 79.73%) χ2χ2 Sexual Activity Abstinent56.24%48.06%1.12 Sexually Active27.58%32.89% Pregnant16.18%19.06% Race Black26.07%24.01%0.06 White47.59%45.73%0.05 Hispanic24.26%20.96%0.14 Other * 2.80%7.07%5.28 Type of abuse Sexual23.77%17.60%0.35 Physical37.08%35.32%0.04 Emotional13.07%11.93% Failure to protect16.62%16.16%>0.01 Neglect24.17%36.86%1.91 Abandonment0.53%0.22%0.94 *** p<0.001; ** p<0.01; * p<0.05; + p<0.10

11 Results: T tests Risk Factors Foster care (n=123; 20.27%) Not in foster care (n=373; 79.73%) MSDM T statistic School engagement Exposure to violence Mental health Substance use Delinquency Peer relationships Faith connection Activities Future goals Cognitive ability Caregiver relationships Parental monitoring Contraceptive use *** p<0.001; ** p<0.01; * p<0.05; + p<0.10

12 Results: Likelihood ratio tests Significant results from likelihood ratio tests χ2χ2 dfSig Family of Origin Problems Race (White) Black Type of abuse (Neglect) Failure to protect Sexual Risk Factors Substance use Delinquency Cognition

13 Results: multinomial regression Abstinent (0) vs. sexually active (1) BSEWalddfSigExp(B)Lower Bound Upper Bound Family of Origin Problems Race (White) Black Type of abuse Sexual Risk Factors Substance use

14 Results: multinomial regression Sexually active (1) vs. pregnant (2) BSEWalddfSigExp(B)Lower Bound Upper Bound Family of Origin Problems Race (White) Black Type of abuse Failure to protect Risk Factors Delinquency Cognition

15 Results Summary- Question 1 Question Are there differences in sexual activity and pregnancy based on placement in foster care? Findings No differences in sexual activity, pregnancy or risk and protective factors

16 Results-Question 2 Question Do foster care, caregiver changes and risk and protective factors predict sexual activity? Findings Foster care & caregiver changes do not predict sexual activity. Significant predictors Sexual activity Pregnancy Family of origin problems XX Race- BlackXX Substance useX CognitionX DelinquencyX Failure to protectX Sexual abuseX

17 Conclusion Foster care alone does not predict pregnancy or sexual activity. Rates of pregnancy/sexual activity are high for youth who come into contact with the child welfare system.

18 Strengths & Limitations Strengths Nationally representative data set Examines different levels of sexual activity Limitations Problems inherent to secondary data analysis Issue with weights

19 Implications National advocacy efforts should refine focus to include all youth who receive child welfare services More research needed to examine discrepancy between high contraceptive use & high pregnancy rates

20 Monica Faulkner (512)


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