Foster parents' perceptions of factors needed for successful foster placements

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Journal of Child and Family Studies, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp. 538-554

There have been several studies exploring challenges for foster parents and factors related to placement disruption. This study sought to describe foster parents’ perceptions of the supports they needed to make placements a success. Sixty-three foster parents were recruited from a membership listing of the Manitoba Foster Family Network and were asked "What do you need for a successful foster placement?" After all statements had been collected and edited for clarity, a group of twenty willing participants were asked to group the statements according to common themes. These data were analyzed using multidimensional scaling and cluster analysis techniques.

Eight clusters describing participants’ identified needs for placement success were derived from the statements: community support, foster family network, supportive family, personalized services, relationship with agency, information about child, personality and skills, and looking after self. Many of the responses were similar to those in the existing literature; however, parents in this study also indicated a need to be part of the service provider team and a formal organization/association for foster parents as essential for placement success.

These findings are constrained by the small sample size and the lack of generalizability to the larger foster parent population.

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