Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

James Simon


Understanding difficult behaviors that contribute to placement loss for foster children could aid in developing interventions to stabilize placement and increase progress moves. Thus, this research project explores the behaviors exhibited by adolescents in a group home through interviews with direct care staff to provide insight into the behaviors that contribute to placement disruption and possible interventions to address traumatic symptoms in foster children.

This was a post- positivist study, utilizing qualitative methods to gather information through face-to-face interviews with group home staff. Eight group home staff were asked questions about their experiences with difficult behaviors and the interventions they have used to assist foster children, and these interviews were recorded electronically and transcribed using open coding. Using conventional content analysis, the following themes were identified: relationship building as an intervention, support for staff, and the difficult behaviors of foster youth.

Relationship building was commonly mentioned by most participants as a way to help youth cope with group home placement. This aligns with previous research and highlights the need for interventions to be aimed at building and maintaining positive relationships for foster youth. The difficult behaviors commonly mentioned by residential counselors included running away, aggression, drug use, and property damage. Additional support in the form of training, management support, and value for the field was identified by participants as was the need for interventions aimed at reducing these difficult behaviors and increasing support for residential counselors.

Included in

Social Work Commons