Family foster care is the option of choice for children in need of out-of-home care in Flanders and the Netherlands. Foster care is however a vulnerable intervention, and questions can be raised as to its efficacy. Although the literature on placement breakdown has made significant progress during the last years, empirical knowledge regarding breakdown in Flanders and the Netherlands remains scant. Consequently, this study aimed at investigating prevalence and precursors of breakdowns in long-term foster care, the duration of placement before breakdown, and the association of child and placement characteristics with breakdown. Case files of 271 Dutch and 309 Flemish foster children were analysed with a coding scheme designed for this study. After 6 years, 398 placements had terminated: 169 placements broke down and 229 placements ended positively. Placements broke down mainly because of behavioural problems of the foster child, foster parents' parenting problems, and conflicts between birth and foster parents. Foster children with behavioural problems, older foster children, foster children denied treatment, and foster children in care because of sexual abuse were more at risk of breakdown. Assessing these factors is important when evaluating the appropriateness of a family foster care placement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-345
Number of pages9
JournalChild and Family Social Work
Issue number3
Early online date2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018

    Research areas

  • breakdown, case file analysis, child welfare outcomes, family foster care

ID: 35602804