Preventing placement breakdowns in child welfare with a foster parent pre-service training program
This study explores the need for a pre-service training program for Manitoba’s foster parents for the purposes of preparing and equipping foster parents with the skills necessary to respond to children with complex needs and to create stable placements for children in care. Current literature has found an increase in stable placements and fewer breakdowns when foster parents engage in a pre-service training program. Despite this, Manitoba is one of the only jurisdictions in the world that does not require such training. A total of 13 participants from three different groups (child welfare professionals, foster parents, and previous children in care) were interviewed using a semi-structured, one-on-one interview style. Both critical and standpoint theories were used as guiding theoretical frameworks and mainstream qualitative research design was used for data analysis. Significant findings include that all 13 participants supported a pre-service training program in Manitoba. Most foster parents in this study Manitoba felt unsupported and unprepared for their roles as caregivers to children with complex needs. This finding was corroborated by child welfare professionals, and from previous children in care. The participants provided training recommendations, including communication and documentation, a more comprehensive orientation, a systems training, and child-focused training.