An inquiry into foster family support need

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LeVasseur, Karen
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Foster family support need was examined in this thesis. The Children's Aid Society of the City of Kingston, Ontario and the Children's Aid Society in the Cornwall, Ontario region were chosen to serve as the research sites. Ten foster care staff, foster parents and foster parent association were initially interviewed. These findings, in compilation with information from the literature review provided base knowledge to develop a relevant 12 page questionnaire, which was distributed to 163 regular foster families. The results of the study are intended to be generalizable. Results found that foster parents perceive they need three types of support: emotional help, with a focus on respect and recognition; concrete help, with a focus on financial compensation; and crisis assistance. Entwined were several secondary themes, including: foster parents care more about quality support than quantitative standards; foster parents indicate that there is an ambiguity in their relationship with the agency; and many foster parents seem to be struggling with the ability and/or desire to fully integrate foster children into their family. It was concluded that support to foster parents needs to be a vital component of any professional system of foster care.