Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Simon, James


Over the course of several decades, the foster youth population continues to grow due to various forms of abuse that have occurred in the biological home. Many foster children experience multiple placements which ultimately cause a significant amount of trauma due to placement instability. The study examined trauma of instability among foster youth and discussed interventions that could be implemented when working with resource families and foster youth within the field of social work.

A post-positivism paradigm was used to focus on understanding the trauma of placement instability. A total of six face-to-face interviews of master’s level social workers were conducted to obtain qualitative data. The interviews consisted of a variety of both descriptive, structural, and contrast questions to explore trauma and common behaviors of foster youth who experienced instability. All data obtained from the interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed through open coding, axial coding, and selective coding by traditional means. Content analysis was used to identify four themes: Impact of Multiple Placements, Useful Interventions, Benefits of Stability, and Family Characteristics. The following research study contributes to social work practice by providing useful interventions such as: teaching, modeling, self-regulation and self-awareness techniques for youth and foster families to address instability. This also includes training families to be trauma-informed caretakers and pre-screening foster families to identify the best match for children to reduce instability.

Included in

Social Work Commons