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Early parenthood for males and females with foster care experience: An exploratory study of predictive factors at entry to care during preadolescence

NCJ Number
Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal Volume: 39 Dated: 2022 Pages: 657–668
Date Published
12 pages

This study sought early predictors of parenthood among young adults following recent removal from their homes.


This study explores early predictors of parenthood among a sample of young adults following recent removal from their homes and noted a family risk variable that included indicators for single parenthood, maternal substance use, criminal activity and violence was the strongest predictor. Moral-legal maltreatment (i.e., exposing children to illegal activities), school and living instability, and self-worth were also significant predictors over and above the demographic control variables. Youth and young adults with a history of out-of-home care are at the center of a constellation of factors associated with young parenthood, including experiences of maltreatment, caregiver and school instability, poor access to preventive health care, and high rates of mental health problems. Although correlates of early parenthood among this population have been examined, few studies have examined factors at entry to care or included males when examining young parenthood. This study focused on a sample of young adults (N = 206), ages 18 to 22, enrolled in the Fostering Healthy Futures study between the ages of 9–11 following recent removal from their homes. At baseline, youth and their caregivers were interviewed and child welfare records were coded, providing data on child welfare and family factors, children’s school functioning, mental health, relationships, attitudes and appraisals. These indices were examined to determine whether they were related to parenthood status at the young adult interview. The discussion critically considers the findings and potential consequences of the results for young people in care with input from consultation sessions with an advisory group of parents possessing a collective wealth of relevant experience, including young parenthood and out-of-home care placement. Implications for child welfare intervention are discussed. (Published Abstract Provided)

Date Published: January 1, 2022