Date of Graduation
The child welfare system is undergoing a crisis in which there are a greater number of foster children requiring temporary housing arrangements than there are foster parents available to provide housing for them. However, despite this fact, little research has been performed regarding the needs and characteristics of foster parents. To help retain these foster parents, they must believe their needs are being met by the child welfare system; otherwise, there is an increased risk of foster parents deciding not to foster in the future. The present study investigated differences between a sample of 30 foster parents of children ages 2 to 11 and a gender-matched community sample of 30 biological parents in terms of: (a) parenting strategies, (b) knowledge of behavioral parenting principles, (c) level of parenting stress, (d) perceptions of being a parent, (e) potential for child abuse, (f) parental psychopathology, and (g) ratings of child behavior. An additional study aim determined whether aspects of the parenting experience related to parenting competence or positive or negative parenting practices. Findings revealed significant demographic differences between foster and biological parents. Foster parents reported greater knowledge of behavioral parenting principles and greater foster child behavior problems than biological parents, and were less likely to use inconsistent discipline practices or corporal punishment. Group status did not relate to parenting competence or self-reported positive parenting practices, but did relate to self-reported negative parenting practices. Implications of these results may influence prevention and intervention efforts for biological and foster parents. Results also may impact future policy efforts for foster parents, which may, in turn, help improve the current child welfare crisis.
Rork, Kristine E., "An examination of parenting strategies, attitudes, and stress in foster and biological parents of young children." (2007). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 9674.