Journal of Child & Family Studies, Volume 18, Issue 6, pp. 633–642.
This study examined foster parent perceptions, specifically exploring what would increase foster parent confidence when caring for children from culturally diverse backgrounds. This study was set in Manitoba, where licensure and monitoring of foster care is provided through three Aboriginal and one non-Aboriginal authority. There are disproportionate numbers of Aboriginal children in care in Manitoba, and there are not enough foster home placements available in Aboriginal families. The authors used the method of concept mapping, which is a qualitative data analysis method that uses quantitative procedures. Interviews were conducted with 61 foster parents. Foster parents emphasized the importance of understanding the beliefs of other cultures, but most felt that they required help in accessing appropriate cultural information and resources for foster children. Foster parents identified child welfare agencies as a potential source of help, indicating that agencies should facilitate the learning related to foster children’s culture. Participants also indicated that the agencies should incorporate cultural sensitivity into their policies and practices. Having connections with other foster parents and key stakeholders was also viewed as important in enhancing cultural self awareness and cross cultural foster placements. Overall, foster parents wanted more support from workers and agencies, better communication among stakeholders, and more information on available community supports.