The relationship between foster parent training and outcomes for looked after children in canada
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The Relationship Between Foster Parent Training and Outcomes for Looked After Children in Canada. Jordanna J. Nash & Robert J. Flynn School of Psychology University of Ottawa Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Centre for Research on Educational and Community Services. Background Placement Stability.

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The Relationship Between Foster Parent Training and Outcomes for Looked After Children in Canada

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The relationship between foster parent training and outcomes for looked after children in canada

The Relationship Between Foster Parent Training and Outcomes for Looked After Children in Canada

Jordanna J. Nash

& Robert J. Flynn

School of Psychology

University of Ottawa

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Centre for Research on Educational and Community Services


Background placement stability

BackgroundPlacement Stability

  • Placement stability for children in care is important

  • Placement breakdowns are an issue

  • Child behaviour problems are associated with placement breakdowns

    • A cause

    • A consequence


Background foster parenting

BackgroundFoster Parenting

  • Foster parents need to be prepared to deal with children’s behaviour

  • Foster parent training critical for preparation for the foster parenting role


Background research on foster parent training

BackgroundResearch on Foster Parent Training

  • Foster parent training has been the focus of very little research

  • Little empirical support for foster parent training programs


Purpose

Purpose

  • An exploratory study

  • Research questions, no hypotheses

  • Expected training to have a mild, positive effect on child outcomes


Research questions

Research Questions

(1)Any association between more types of training and positive child outcomes?

(2)Any association between more LAC training and positive child outcomes?

(3)Is LAC, PRIDE, College, Other training associated with more positive child outcomes than agency-specific training?


Sample

Sample

  • Provincial database for Ontario Looking After Children (OnLAC) Project

  • Analyzed 445 AAR-C2 Assessment and Action Records (Second Canadian Adaptation; AAR-C2)


Sample foster children

SampleFoster children

  • Ages 10 to 17

  • Mean age 13

  • Time in placement 0 to 15 years

  • Mean length 4 years


Sample foster parents

SampleFoster parents

  • Years of fostering 0 to 59 years

  • Mean experience 9 years


Method

Method

  • Foster child outcomes examined included:

    • Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ)

      • emotional and behavioural difficulties

      • 20 items

      • foster parent report

    • Internal developmental assets

      • children’s strengths

      • 20-item scale

      • child welfare worker report


Method1

Method

  • Foster child outcomes examined included:

    • Relationship with female caregiver

      • 4-item scale

      • child report

    • Relationship with male caregiver

      • 4-item scale

      • child report

    • Satisfaction with current placement

      • 9-item scale

      • child report


Method2

Method

  • Control variables entered into analysis included:

    • Foster placement variables:

      • foster parent gender

      • years fostering

      • years child had lived in current placement

    • Foster child variables:

      • foster child gender

      • foster child age


Method3

Method

  • Variables entered into analysis included:

    • Training variables: 3 models

      • Number of types of foster parent training

      • Amount of LAC foster parent training

      • LAC, PRIDE, College, ‘Other’ training

        VS. Agency-specific training


Results strengths and difficulties questionnaire

ResultsStrengths and Difficulties Questionnaire

  • Boys had higher total difficulties scores

  • Older children had lower total difficulties scores


Results strengths and difficulties questionnaire1

ResultsStrengths and Difficulties Questionnaire

Foster parents more types of training

child more total difficulties


Results strengths and difficulties questionnaire2

ResultsStrengths and Difficulties Questionnaire

Foster parents more LAC training

child more total difficulties


Results internal developmental assets

ResultsInternal Developmental Assets

  • Boys had fewer internal assets

  • Children who had resided in their current placement longer had more internal assets


Results internal developmental assets1

ResultsInternal Developmental Assets

Foster parents more types of training

child fewer internal assets


Results internal developmental assets2

ResultsInternal Developmental Assets

Foster parents with LAC training

child fewer internal assets


Results relationship with female caregiver

ResultsRelationship with female caregiver

  • More positive relationships if:

    • Female foster parent present for AAR

    • Female child

    • Children in current placement longer

  • Older children reported less positive relationships


Results relationship with male caregiver

ResultsRelationship with male caregiver

  • Older children reported less positive relationships

  • Children in placement longer reported more positive relationships


Results placement satisfaction

ResultsPlacement satisfaction

  • Children in their current placement longer reported higher placement satisfaction


Conclusions

Conclusions

  • A consistent, mild effect of training was found

  • However, the effect was in the opposite direction than expected


Interpretation

Interpretation

  • Training may have a sensitizing effect on foster parents’ perceptions

  • Training makes foster parents better detectors and reporters


Implications

Implications

  • For practice:

    • Practitioners, program developers, and trainers should be aware of this sensitizing effect


Implications1

Implications

  • For research:

    • Formally trained foster parents’ reports of child difficulties may differ from other reports


Implications2

Implications

  • For policy:

    • Policy makers should be choosing to implement evidence-based training programs


References

References

Dorsey, S., Farmer, E. M. Z., Barth, R. P., Greene, K., Reid, J., & Landsverk, J. (In press). Current status and evidence base of training for foster and treatment foster parents, Children and Youth Services Review.

Newton, R. R., Litrownik, A. J., & Landsverk, J. A. (2000). Children and youth in foster care: Disentangling the relationship between problem behaviors and number of placements. Child Abuse and Neglect, 24, 1363-1374.

Palmer, S. E. (1996). Placement stability and inclusive practice in foster care: An empirical study. Children and Youth Services Review, 18, 589-601.

Perkins-Mangulabnan, J., & Flynn, R. J. (2006). Foster parenting practices and foster youth outcomes. In R. J. Flynn, P. M. Dudding, & J. G. Barber (Eds.), Promoting resilience in child welfare. (pp. 231-247). Ottawa, ON: Ottawa University Press.

Rodwell, M. K., & Biggerstaff, M. A. (1993). Strategies for recruitment and retention of foster families. Children and Youth Services Review, 15, 403-419.

Staff, I., & Fein, E. (1995). Stability and change: Initial findings in a study of treatment foster care placements. Children and Youth Services Review, 17, 379-389.

Turner, W., MacDonald, G.M., & Dennis, J.A. (2007). Behavioural and cognitive behavioural training interventions for assisting foster carers in the management of difficult behaviour. The Campbell Collaboration.


Thank you for your attention

Thank you for your attention

Questions and comments are welcomed


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