Processing the Removal and Managing the Moves or Removals of Foster Children: A Qualitative Exploration of Foster Parents’ Experiences

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Foster parents are crucial to the function of the child welfare system. Despite developments in research related to the grief and loss of foster parents, more research would be helpful in building a stronger understanding and knowledge base for helping foster parents manage the removals of foster children in their home. This study included ten foster parents from the United States and explored their experience with loss and the stress associated with the expected or unexpected removal of a foster child from their home. The findings of the data analysis yielded three overarching themes: (1) managing or coping with ambiguous loss; (2) systemic impacts of a move or removal on a family; (3) need for helpful preparation or support for dealing with the loss of foster child. Implications include better preparation and support for foster parents dealing with moves and removals of foster children, as well as considering less abrupt removals of children from foster homes.

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Correspondence to Jennifer Newquist.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee (Texas Woman's University IRB, Reference # 17011) and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Newquist, J., Ladd, L.D. & Cooley, M.E. Processing the Removal and Managing the Moves or Removals of Foster Children: A Qualitative Exploration of Foster Parents’ Experiences. Child Adolesc Soc Work J (2020) doi:10.1007/s10560-020-00652-w

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  • Foster care
  • Foster parents
  • Foster care transfers
  • Grief
  • Ambiguous loss