Longitudinal research on youth in foster care is important, but often challenging to accomplish. To assist the field, a thorough description of the development of the SPARK (Studying Pathways to Adjustment and Resilience in Kids) project, a longitudinal research project on the mechanisms of resilience for foster youth and their caregivers, is presented. Authors explain the difficult task for researchers in accessing youth in foster care and suggest strategies for success. Recruitment approaches for foster youth and their families are also provided along with examples of effective techniques. Data collection concerns are discussed, and the authors provide recommendations for researchers to consider when asking youth sensitive questions. Finally, data collection on academic information from teachers and how the SPARK project works with the academic community to gain information on school functioning for youth in the project is described. Suggestions for methodology utilized in future research along with examples of innovative adjustments to typical research procedures are provided as guidance for how research on maltreated youth can be conducted.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science