A preliminary investigation of parenting attributes of Australian foster carers
Cheryl, C and Hay, I, A preliminary investigation of parenting attributes of Australian foster carers, Australian Educational and Developmental Psychologist, 22, (2) pp. 65-83. ISSN 0816-5122 (2005) [Refereed Article]
Utilising a comparison research design of mothers involved in fostering (N= 28) and their peers (N =28), the major findings were that within the fostering group, those who had been fostering the longest had the lowest sense of efficacy, reflecting that the experience of providing foster care eroded parents' sense of their own skill. In terms of attachment to the children, the data suggested that foster carers may resist becoming too close to the children in their care in order to limit the emotional cost of subsequent separation. Importantly, there was no significant correlation between the length of time in providing foster care and marital satisfaction, which supports the notion that providing foster care does not, in itself cause marital stress. While formal support services were more utilised by foster carers there was some indication that this group is not well integrated into the broader community. Collectively, these findings demonstrate that over the long- term providing fostering care has some negative consequences for the carers in terms of their self-confidence. Agencies designated to work with carers need to consider proactive strategies to reduce this consequence.