Strengths of Aboriginal Foster Parents

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Journal of Child and Family Studies, 20(3), 279-285.

Aboriginal children are overrepresented in out-of-home care and underrepresented as foster parents.  There are dramatic differences between Aboriginal and western cultures and the promotion of wellness and values.  These overrepresentations and differences have resulted in a lack of formal supports for Aboriginal foster families.  This study sought to examine the strengths of Aboriginal foster parents from their own perspectives in an effort to improve awareness of issues that build upon the influence to foster, as well as promote supports, satisfaction and success as a foster parent.  Authors used the concept mapping approach to illustrate the themes that emerged during data collection.  Participants were contacted through a randomized list of telephone numbers of licensed foster parents in a central Canadian province.  A total of 83 interviews with Aboriginal foster parents were conducted.  Findings suggest that the primary concepts that illustrate the participants’ strengths as an Aboriginal foster parent are: 1) Awareness, abilities, and skills to make connections with children, persevere, be organized, let things go, and advocate; 2) Fostering of cultural experiences for children; 3) Personal qualities such as strong, flexible, accepting, and sincere; and 4) The child as part of the family and devoting time and energy to the child.

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