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Journal Article


Cooley ME, Thompson HM, Newell E. Child Youth Care Forum 2019; 48(3): 289-303.


(Copyright © 2019, Holtzbrinck Springer Nature Publishing Group)






BackgroundFoster parents experience multiple challenges; however, managing problematic child behaviors can be especially difficult. Given the ecological nature of challenges associated with fostering, it is imperative that researchers identify means for combatting foster parent stress and factors that may contribute to placement disruption.

OBJECTIVEThe purpose of this paper is to examine the importance of social support for foster parents, in regards to confidence and satisfaction, as well as perceived challenges with fostering. Additionally, social support was evaluated as a moderator between reported child behaviors and foster parents' confidence and satisfaction with fostering.

METHODThis study included 155 licensed foster caregivers across the United States. Participants completed standardized measures (i.e., child behaviors, satisfaction and challenges as a foster parent, social support) through an online survey after being recruited via social media. Variables were analyzed through simple and hierarchal linear regressions.

RESULTSFindings indicate that social support significantly predicted confidence and satisfaction as a foster parent; intensity of child behaviors is negatively associated with confidence as a foster parent and positively associated with an overall perception of challenges related to fostering; and social support moderates the relationship between perceived problem with child behaviors and perceived challenging aspects of fostering.

CONCLUSIONThis study indicates social support may be a protective factor for foster parents in regards to child behaviors and challenges associated with fostering. Social support is linked to variables that directly influence placement stability.

Language: en


Child behaviors; Child welfare; Foster care; Foster caregiver; Foster parent; Protective factor; Social support


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