Skip to main content

Foster Parents’ Perceptions of Factors Needed for Successful Foster Placements

Abstract

The purpose of the study was to describe the needs of foster parents for placement success. Sixty-three foster parents from a central Canadian province were asked the following question: “What do you need for a successful foster placement”? Foster parents grouped together all responses, which were analyzed using multidimensional scaling and cluster analysis procedures. Foster parents indicated that they needed the right personality and skills, information about the foster child, a good relationship with the fostering agency, individualized services, community support, linkages to other foster families, supportive immediate and extended families, as well as self-care skills. There were some differences between the existing literature and the needs identified by study participants. Differences included the need for information about policies and procedures, their treatment by professionals, and the need for formal foster parent organizations.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1

References

  1. Altshuler, S. J. (2006). (One hundred and) ten years later, students in foster care still need our help! School Social Work Journal, 31, 79–93.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Barbell, K., & Freundlich, M. (2001). Foster care today. Washington, DC: Casey Family Programs.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Bedi, R. (2006). Concept mapping the client’s perspective on counseling alliance formation. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 53, 26–35.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Brown, J., & Bednar, L. (2006). Foster parent perceptions of placement breakdown. Children and Youth Services Review, 28, 1497–1511.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Brown, J., & Calder, P. (1999). Concept-mapping the challenges faced by foster parents. Children and Youth Services Review, 2, 481–495.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Brown, J., & Calder, P. (2000). Concept mapping the needs of foster parents. Child Welfare, 79, 729–746.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. Brown, J., Moraes, S., & Mayhew, J. (2005). Service needs of foster families with children who have disabilities. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 14, 417–429.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Buehler, C., Cox, M. E., & Cuddeback, G. (2003). Foster parents’ perceptions of factors that promote or inhibit successful fostering. Qualitative Social Work: Research and Practice, 2, 61–83.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Burns, B. J., Phillips, S. D., Wagner, H. R., Barth, R. P., Kolko, D. J., Campbell, Y., et al. (2004). Mental health need and access to mental health services by youths involved with child welfare: A national survey. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 43, 960–970.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Bussiere, A. (2006). Permanence for older foster youth. Family Court Review, 44, 231–243.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Chahine, Z., van Straaten, J., & Williams Isom, A. (2005). The New York City neighborhood based services strategy. Child Welfare Journal, 84, 141–152.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Chamberlain, P., Price, J. M., Reid, J. B., Landsverk, J., Fisher, P. A., & Stoolmiller, M. (2006). Who disrupts from placement in foster and kinship care? Child Abuse and Neglect, 30, 409–424.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Chamberlain, P., & Smith, D. K. (2005). Multidimensional treatment foster care: A community solution for boys and girls referred from juvenile justice. Clinical Psychology, 13, 557–573.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Chipungu, S. S., & Bent-Goodley, T. B. (2004). Meeting the challenges of contemporary foster care. The Future of Children, 14, 75–93.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Cole, S. A. (2005). Foster caregiver motivation and infant attachment: How do reasons for fostering affect relationships? Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 22, 441–457.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Cox, M. E., Orme, J. G., & Rhodes, K. W. (2003). Willingness to foster children with emotional or behavioral problems. Journal of Social Service Research, 29, 23–51.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Craig Oldsen, H., Craig, J. A., & Morton, T. (2006). Issues of shared parenting of LGBTQ children and youth in foster care: Preparing foster parents for new roles. Child Welfare Journal, 85, 267–280.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Donnelly, J., Donnelly, K., & Grohman, K. (2005a). A multi-perspective concept mapping study of problems associated with traumatic brain injury. Brain Injury, 19, 1077–1085.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Donnelly, J., Huff, S., Lindsey, M., McMahon, K., & Schumacher, D. (2005b). The needs of children with life-limiting conditions: A healthcare-provider-based model. American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, 22, 259–267.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Evans, L. D., Scott, S. S., & Schulz, E. G. (2004). The need for educational assessment of children entering foster care. Child Welfare Journal, 83, 565–580.

    Google Scholar 

  21. Farmer, E., Lipscombe, J., & Moyers, S. (2005). Foster carer strain and its impact on parenting and placement outcomes for adolescents. British Journal of Social Work, 35, 237–253.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Ferris-Manning, C., & Zandstra, M. (2003). Children in care in Canada. Ottawa, ON: Child Welfare League of Canada.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Finn, J., Kerman, B., & LeCornec, J. (2004). Building skills building futures: Providing information technology to foster families. Families in Society, 85, 165–176.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Finn, J., Kerman, B., & LeCornec, J. (2005). Reducing the digital divide for children in foster care: First year evaluation of the building skills building futures program. Research on Social Work Practice, 15, 470–480.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Fisher, T., Gibbs, I., Sinclair, I., & Wilson, K. (2000). Sharing the care: The qualities sought of social workers by foster carers. Child and Family Social Work, 5, 225–233.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Gerstenzang, S., & Freundlich, M. (2005). A critical assessment of concurrent planning in New York state. Adoption Quarterly, 8, 1–22.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Gibbs, D. (2005). Understanding foster parenting: Using administrative data to explore retention. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

    Google Scholar 

  28. Griffin, J. D. (2005). Growing up in foster care: A qualitative study of the relational worlds of foster youth. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering, 65(8 B), 70–80.

    Google Scholar 

  29. Harden, B. J., Clyman, R. B., Kriebel, D. K., & Lyons, M. E. (2004). Kith and kin care: Parental attitudes and resources of foster and relative caregivers. Children and Youth Services Review, 26, 657–671.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Herman, S., Onaga, E., Pernice-Duca, F., Oh, S., & Ferguson, C. (2005). Sense of community in clubhouse programs: Member and staff concepts. American Journal of Community Psychology, 36(3–4), 343–356.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Kirton, D., Beecham, J., & Ogilvie, K. (2006). Adoption by foster carers: A profile of interest and outcomes. Child and Family Social Work, 11, 139–146.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Kluger, M., Alexander, G., & Curtis, A. (2000). What works in child welfare. Washington, DC: Child Welfare League of America.

    Google Scholar 

  33. Leathers, S. J. (2006). Placement disruption and negative placement outcomes among adolescents in long term foster care: The role of behavior problems. Child Abuse and Neglect, 30, 307–324.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Leschied, A., Rodger, S., Cummings, A., Hurley, R., MacGregor, T., & Nash, J. (2004). The challenge of fostering: An investigation of factors related to the recruitment and retention of foster families. London: Faculty of Education, University of Western Ontario.

    Google Scholar 

  35. Leslie, L. K., Gordon, J. N., Lambros, K., Premji, K., Peoples, J., & Gist, K. (2005). Addressing the developmental and mental health needs of young children in foster care. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 26, 140–151.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Linares, L. O., Montalto, D., Li, M., & Oza, V. S. (2006a). A promising parenting intervention in foster care. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 74, 32–41.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Linares, L. O., Montalto, D., Rosbruch, N., & Li, M. (2006b). Discipline practices among biological and foster parents. Child Maltreatment: Journal of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, 11, 157–167.

    Google Scholar 

  38. Lipscombe, J., Moyers, S., & Farmer, E. (2004). What changes in ‘parenting’ approaches occur over the course of adolescent foster care placements? Child and Family Social Work, 9, 347–357.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Lyons, J. S., & Rogers, L. (2004). The U.S. child welfare system: A de facto public behavioral health care system. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 43, 971–973.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Macdonald, G., & Turner, W. (2005). An experiment in helping foster carers manage challenging behaviour. British Journal of Social Work, 35, 1265–1282.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Manitoba Foster Family Network. (2006). About us. Retrieved August 29, 2006 from: http://www.mffn.ca/

  42. Massinga, R., & Pecora, P. J. (2004). Providing better opportunities for older children in the child welfare system. The Future of Children, 14, 151–175.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Monck, E., Reynolds, J., & Wigfall, V. (2004). Using concurrent planning to establish permanency for looked after young children. Child and Family Social Work, 9, 321–331.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Morton, T. D. (2004). “The development of parenting skills in foster parent training”: Comment. Children and Youth Services Review, 26(6), 609–611.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. National Youth in Care Network (2001). Who will teach me to learn: Creating positive school experiences for youth in care. Ottawa, ON: Author.

  46. Neff, J., Shorkey, C., & Windsor, L. (2006). Contrasting faith-based and traditional substance abuse treatment programs. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 30, 49–61.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  47. Orme, J. G., Buehler, C., McSurdy, M., Rhodes, K. W., Cox, M. E., & Patterson, D. A. (2004). Parental and familial characteristics of family foster care applicants. Children and Youth Services Review, 26, 307–329.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  48. Orme, J. G., Buehler, C., Rhodes, K. W., Cox, M. E., McSurdy, M., & Cuddeback, G. (2006). Parental and familial characteristics used in the selection of foster families. Children and Youth Services Review, 28, 396–421.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  49. Pacifici, C., Delaney, R., White, L., Cummings, K., & Nelson, C. (2005). Foster parent college: Interactive multimedia training for foster parents. Social Work Research, 29, 243–251.

    Google Scholar 

  50. Peebles-Wilkins, W. (2003). Support networks and well being. Children and Schools, 25, 67–68.

    Google Scholar 

  51. Pollack, D. (2006). Preface. Family Court Review, 44, 209.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  52. Prince, J., & Austin, M. J. (2005). Inter agency collaboration in child welfare and child mental health systems. Social Work in Mental Health, 4, 1–16.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  53. Rhodes, K. W., Orme, J. G., Cox, M. E., & Buehler, C. (2003). Foster family resources, psychosocial functioning, and retention. Social Work Research, 27, 135–150.

    Google Scholar 

  54. Rosenfeld, L. B., & Richman, J. M. (2003). Social support and educational outcomes for students in out of home care. Children and Schools, 25, 69–86.

    Google Scholar 

  55. Schofield, G., & Beek, M. (2005). Risk and resilience in long term foster care. British Journal of Social Work, 35, 1283–1301.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  56. Sinclair, I., & Wilson, K. (2003). Matches and mismatches: The contribution of carers and children to the success of foster placements. British Journal of Social Work, 33, 871–884.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  57. Strozier, A. L., Elrod, B., Beiler, P., Smith, A., & Carter, K. (2004). Developing a network of support for relative caregivers. Children and Youth Services Review, 26, 641–656.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  58. Sutherland, S., & Katz, S. (2005). Concept mapping methodology: A catalyst for organizational learning. Evaluation and Program Planning, 28, 257–269.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  59. Thomas, K. (1993). An evaluation research study: Comparing placement outcomes of treatment foster care to residential care. Winnipeg: Faculty of Social Work, University of Manitoba.

    Google Scholar 

  60. Trochim, W. M. (1987). The concept system. Ithasca, NY: Trochim Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  61. Trochim, W. M. (1989). Concept mapping: Soft science or hard art? Evaluation and Program Planning, 12, 87–110.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  62. Wells, K., Farmer, E. M. Z., Richards, J. T., & Burns, B. J. (2004). The experience of being a treatment foster mother. Qualitative Social Work: Research and Practice, 3, 117–138.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  63. Wilson, K., Petrie, S., & Sinclair, I. (2003). A kind of loving: A model of effective foster care. British Journal of Social Work, 33, 991–1003.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  64. Wulczyn, F., Kogan, J., & Harden, B. J. (2003). Placement stability and movement trajectories. Social Service Review, 77, 212–236.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  65. Zetlin, A., Weinberg, L., & Kimm, C. (2003). Are the educational needs of children in foster care being addressed? Children and Schools, 25, 105–119.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jason D. Brown.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Brown, J.D. Foster Parents’ Perceptions of Factors Needed for Successful Foster Placements. J Child Fam Stud 17, 538–554 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-007-9172-z

Download citation

Keywords

  • Foster parents
  • Concept mapping
  • Success
  • Placement outcome
  • Canada