Graduation Year

2008

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Applied Behavior Analysis

Major Professor

Kimberly Crosland, Ph.D.

Keywords

Contingency management, Foster care, Missing, Delinquent

Abstract

The number of dependent youth reported as runaways to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has become an increasing concern to the Department of Children and Families (Child Welfare League of America, 2005). Youth under state supervision, who are reported as runaways, most often leave from foster care settings, although some youth are also reported as runaways from the homes of relatives, non-relatives, and biological parents (CWLA, 2005). Community based care (CBC) agencies responsible for the supervision of dependent children in the State of Florida have struggled to develop an effective means of addressing the problem of running away and have subsequently been unable to decrease the number of dependent youth reported as runaways each year (CWLA, 2005). The current study evaluated a behavioral approach through a multiple baseline design to address the runaway behavior of dependent youth. Behavior contracts were used with three runaway youth placed in foster care which showed an initial increase in the number of days spent in an approved placement for all three participants. While the increase in the number of days spent in an approved placement did not maintain for one participant, a decrease in runaway behavior was demonstrated and maintained for the other two participants.

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