Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Foster home care-Massachusetts-Worcester County, Youth Opportunities Upheld, Inc., Human geography, Foster children-Social conditions, Foster care, Place, Space, Race, Class, Geographic information system


This case study examines the broader trends in demographic change experienced by children in the foster care system in Worcester County, Massachusetts by comparing information regarding removal and placement locations of youth in the Y.O.U., Inc. foster care program with 2000 census data describing the poverty levels, household incomes and racial composition of these locations. The findings demonstrate that children were likely to be removed from areas with high levels of poverty and low numbers of non-Hispanic white residents and placed into areas with low levels of poverty and high numbers of non-Hispanic white populations. This demographic analysis is contextualized within geographical theories of place to explore the political and systemic implications of these spatial trends. This study argues that a more integrated, selfreflexive and systemic approach to the issues faced by youth and their families in the foster care system is necessary in order to avoid the reproduction and perpetuation of race and class oppressions experienced by children in the foster care system, and to assure the delivery of ethical and effective services to today's fostered youth.




v, 57 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2011. Includes bibliographical references (p. 51-57)