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Fostering health families: An exploration of the informal and formal support needs of foster caregivers [sciencedirect.com]

 

By Jacquelyn K. Mallette, Lindsey Almond, and Hannah Leonard, Children and Youth Services Review, March 2020

Abstract

This qualitative study examines the challenges foster caregivers face within their families and seeks to understand their formal and informal support systems so that future trainings may be created to provide for the specific and realistic needs of foster caregivers. Twelve licensed foster caregivers from North Carolina took part in 90 minute focus groups with semi-structured questions regarding relationship strengths and challenges, trainings, and support. Six themes were inductively coded from the data: quality of supports and people who understand, strain on family relationships, fear of removal, lack of support from systems, lack of applicable training, preparation and support for adoption; examples of each are provided. Increasing numbers of children in foster care, combined with a lack of available foster placements makes recruitment and retention a vital factor for those who train and work with foster caregivers; our research indicates a strong need for appropriate and applicable foster caregiver trainings, combined with support from both formal and informal systems.

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