Needs of Foster Care Peer Support Volunteers
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Demands associated with foster parenting are substantial and support is crucial. Peer support is a form of support where foster parents connect formally with other foster parents with experience who can provide knowledge, emotional and practical help. The purpose of the present study was to identify what the needs are of foster parents in that peer support role from the views of peer support volunteers themselves. Interviews were conducted with 14 foster parent peer mentors staffing a telephone consultation service for foster parents across a large geographic area. Each was asked: what do you need to be a good peer support volunteer? Results were analyzed using group concept mapping and five concepts emerged, including: Kindness, Self-care, Good People Skills, Fostering Experience, and Informed and Knowledgeable. Results are compared and contrasted with peer support literature.
KeywordsFoster care Mentorship Foster parent
The authors would like to acknowledge the financial support of this research through a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. We would also like to thank the Manitoba Foster Family Network group for their assistance and participants for their contributions to this study.
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