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J Dev Behav Pediatr. 1996 Jun;17(3):170-5.

Foster home environments: a preliminary report.

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Department of Pediatrics, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, USA.


This study evaluated the quality of developmental and emotional stimulation available to young children in their first foster home placement. Visits were made to 28 of 34 (82%) homes of children ages 2 to 6 years who were enrolled in a prospective study of foster care. Based on the results of the Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment (HOME) scale, 18% of homes were found to be understimulating. Multivariate analysis revealed that low HOME scores were related only to income level and not to other foster parent characteristics. Subscale scores showed that low HOME scores were due largely to lack of adequate play materials and limited interaction between the foster parents and the children. These results demonstrate great variability in the quality of foster home environments. Adjusting foster care subsidies according to foster parents' income levels, providing age-appropriate books and play materials, and additional training of foster parents should increase the developmental and emotional stimulation available to foster children.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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