The protective role of internal/external factors on Covid-19 related stressors among resource parents

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Zak, S., Gallitto, E., & Romano, E. (2022). The protective role of internal/external factors on Covid-19 related stressors among resource parents. Developmental Child Welfare, 4(3), 177–191. 



The Covid-19 pandemic has had detrimental effects on almost everyone worldwide, but one particularly vulnerable group are resource parents (foster and kinship) and the young people in out-of-home care. Resource parents have experienced the same increases in pandemic-related stressors as other parents but have the added challenge of caring for a young person involved with child welfare. There are, however, various possible protective factors that have been found to positively influence families during times of stress. 


We examined how internal (family functioning/resilience and emotion regulation) and external (parent/child welfare worker relationship and social supports) resource parent protective factors are related to the degree of perceived stressors experienced due to the pandemic. A sample of 47 resource parents from the province of Ontario (Canada) caring for a young person between 4 and 17 years old completed an online questionnaire. 


Multiple regression analyses showed that a higher quality relationship between resource parents and child welfare workers was associated with lower perceived pandemic-related stressors. Higher parent emotion regulation was also found to be associated with a significant decrease in resource parents’ perceived stressors. 


Overall, resource parents experienced an increase in pandemic-related stressors. However, both internal and external protective factors could be associated with a decrease in experienced stressors. 


This study used a strengths-based approach and showed the importance of a positive resource parent and child welfare worker relationship as well as effective parental emotion regulation strategies during times of stress.