Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Lim, Dr. Caroline


Objective: This systematic review examined the myriad challenges that pregnant foster youths experience in securing stable placements within the foster care system. Methods: Employing the PRISMA methodology, a literature search spanning September 2013 to May 2024 was conducted across various databases. The search strategy used keywords relating to foster care, pregnancy, placement stability, and associated factors contributing to instability. Results: Twenty-two relevant studies were identified, representing diverse research methodologies and geographic locations. A synthesis of the findings revealed that systemic issues inherent in the foster care system, including bureaucratic inefficiencies and resource constraints, exacerbate placement difficulties among pregnant foster youths. Individual-level factors such as age-related dynamics, experiences of neglect and maltreatment, substance abuse issues, mental and medical health needs, attachment difficulties, and the separation of sibling groups were additional key contributors to placement instability within this population. Conclusion: Understanding the complex interplay of these multifaceted factors is vital for informing the development of targeted interventions and support systems tailored to the unique needs of pregnant youths in foster care.

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