Year of Publication



Public Health

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)

Committee Chair

Dr. W. Jay Christian

Committee Member

Dr. Olga Vsevolozhskaya

Committee Member

Dr. Marc Kiviniemi


A sample of 27,599 youth 5-17 years old who entered the child welfare system in Wisconsin between 2010 and 2020 were analyzed to examine differences in those who run away from out-of-home care and those who do not. Risk factors analyzed included age at entry into the system and measures of sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, witness to family violence, placement restrictiveness, youth home county socioeconomic disadvantage and urbanicity, and distance from placement to home. Analyses were presented in gender- and race- specific strata. In this sample, 2434 (8.8%) ran away from their out-of-home care placement at least once. For all four race/gender groups, age at entry into the system, restrictive placement settings, distance from home, and home county socioeconomic disadvantage and urbanicity were significantly associated with likelihood of running away. Exploitation was associated with higher odds of running away for females only. There were clear gender and race differences in types of traumas and risk of running away. Implications for future research are discussed.

Available for download on Friday, April 28, 2023

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