Although prior research suggests that history of foster care is linked to an increased risk for recidivism, few studies have examined this relationship. The current study examined the association between foster care and reoffending at a 3.94-year follow-up in a sample of Canadian juvenile offenders on probation (n = 156). Findings indicate that among youth with a history of foster care, number of placements and age of first placement did not predict any or violent recidivism. Hierarchical logistic regression models revealed that over and above gender, Aboriginal ethnicity, well-established risk factors and abuse, having a history of foster care significantly increased risk for any recidivism, but not for violent recidivism. Also, survival analysis revealed that youth with a history of foster care reoffend faster. Thus, although many believe that removing children from unsafe environments will reduce recidivism, this assumption appears incorrect. Implications for future research, policy, and practice are discussed.
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Thesis advisor: Roesch, Ronald
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