Advertisement

Contemporary Family Therapy

, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 384–391 | Cite as

Needs of Foster Care Peer Support Volunteers

  • Jason BrownEmail author
  • Aamena Kapasi
  • Samantha Weindels
  • Vanessa Eyre
Original Paper
  • 98 Downloads

Abstract

Demands associated with foster parenting are substantial and support is crucial. Peer support is a form of support where foster parents connect formally with other foster parents with experience who can provide knowledge, emotional and practical help. The purpose of the present study was to identify what the needs are of foster parents in that peer support role from the views of peer support volunteers themselves. Interviews were conducted with 14 foster parent peer mentors staffing a telephone consultation service for foster parents across a large geographic area. Each was asked: what do you need to be a good peer support volunteer? Results were analyzed using group concept mapping and five concepts emerged, including: Kindness, Self-care, Good People Skills, Fostering Experience, and Informed and Knowledgeable. Results are compared and contrasted with peer support literature.

Keywords

Foster care Mentorship Foster parent 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to acknowledge the financial support of this research through a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. We would also like to thank the Manitoba Foster Family Network group for their assistance and participants for their contributions to this study.

References

  1. Ayton, D., & Joss, N. (2016). Empowering vulnerable parents through a family mentoring program. Australian Journal of Primary Health, 22(4), 320–326.  https://doi.org/10.1071/PY14174.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Barbell, K., & Wright, L. (2018). Introduction: Family foster care in the next century. In K. Barbell & L. Wright (Eds.), Family foster care in the next century (pp. 1–12). London: Routledge.  https://doi.org/10.4324/9781351320481.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barnett, E. R., Jankowski, M. K., Butcher, R. L., Meister, C., Parton, R. R., & Drake, R. E. (2018). Foster and adoptive parent perspectives on needs and services: A mixed methods study. The Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 45(1), 74–89.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11414-017-9569-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Berrick, J. D., Young, E. W., Cohen, E., & Anthony, E. (2011). ‘I am the face of success’: Peer mentors in child welfare. Child and Family Social Work, 16(2), 179–191.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2206.2010.00730.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Blythe, S. L., Jackson, D., Halcomb, E. J., & Wilkes, L. (2011). The stigma of being a long-term foster carer. Journal of Family Nursing, 18(2), 234–260.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1074840711423913.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Bohannan, T., Gonzalez, C., & Summers, A. (2016). Assessing the relationship between a peer-mentoring program and case outcomes in dependency court. Journal of Public and Child Welfare, 10(2), 176–196.  https://doi.org/10.1080/15548732.2016.1155523.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bryan, V., Flaherty, C., & Saunders, C. (2010). Supporting adoptive families: Participant perceptions of a statewide peer mentoring and support program. Journal of Public Child Welfare, 4, 91–112.  https://doi.org/10.1080/15548730903563178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Coakley, T. M., & Gruber, K. (2015). Cultural receptivity among foster parents: Implications for quality transcultural parenting. Social Work Research, 39(1), 11–22.  https://doi.org/10.1093/swr/svu033.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Concept Systems. (2017). SC Global MAX. Retrieved July 27, 2019 from https://www.conceptsystems.com/gw/software.
  10. Cooley, M. E., Farineau, H. M., & Mullis, A. K. (2015). Child behaviors as a moderator: Examining the relationship between foster parent supports, satisfaction, and intent to continue fostering. Child Abuse and Neglect, 45, 46–56.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2015.05.007.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. de Wit, E. E., Chakranarayan, C., Bunders-Aelen, J. F., & Regeer, B. J. (2018). Learning about parenting together: A programme to support parents with inter-generational concerns in Pune, India. Contemporary Family Therapy, 40(1), 68–83.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10591-017-9429-7.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Drabble, B. L. A., Haun, L. L., Kushins, H., & Cohen, E. (2016). Measuring client satisfaction and engagement: The role of a mentor parent program in family drug treatment court. Juvenile and Family Court Journal, 67(1), 19–32.  https://doi.org/10.1111/jfcj.12053.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Evans, C., Humphrey, L., Pelletier, C., & Hudgens, S. (2017). Group concept mapping to understand the patient perspective and burden of psoriasis. SKIN The Journal of Cutaneous Medicine, 1(3.1), s16.  https://doi.org/10.25251/skin.1.supp.15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Finn, J., & Kerman, B. (2004). The use of online social support by foster families. Journal of Family Social Work, 8(4), 67–85.  https://doi.org/10.1300/J039v08n04_04.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gardenhire, J., Schleiden, C., & Brown, C. C. (2019). Attachment as a tool in the treatment of children within foster care. Contemporary Family Therapy.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10591-018-09487-1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gilkes, L., & Capstick, L. (2008). Parent-to-parent mentoring Oxfordshire’s pioneering buddy scheme for adopters. Adoption & Fostering, 32(1), 69–72.  https://doi.org/10.1177/030857590803200109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gopalan, G., Horen, M. J., Bruns, E., Corey, M., Meteyer, S., Pardue, M., … Matarese, M. (2017). Caregiver perceptions of parent peer support services within the wraparound service delivery model. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 26(7), 1923–1935.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-017-0704-x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hacsi, T. (2017). From indenture to family foster care: A brief history of child placing. In L. Merkel-Holguin (Ed.), A history of child welfare (pp. 155–173). Routledge.  https://doi.org/10.4324/9781351315920-9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hamilton, L. (2011). An exploratory investigation of foster parent retention in Arkansas. Midsouth Political Science Review, 12(2011), 69–85. Retrieved April 20, 2019 from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/8771/be34bd07beaa9370ea7b803e06fd559b598f.pdf.
  20. Hargett, C. W., Doty, J. P., Hauck, J. N., Webb, A. M., Cook, S. H., Tsipis, N. E., … Taylor, D. C. (2017). Developing a model for effective leadership in healthcare: A concept mapping approach. Journal of Healthcare Leadership, 9, 69.  https://doi.org/10.2147/JHL.S141664.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hayes Piel, M., Geiger, J. M., Julien-Chinn, F. J., & Lietz, C. A. (2017). An ecological systems approach to understanding social support in foster family resilience. Child and Family Social Work, 22(2), 1034–1043.  https://doi.org/10.1111/cfs.12323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hinson Langford, C. P., Bowsher, J., Maloney, J. P., & Lillis, P. P. (1997). Social support: A conceptual analysis. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 25(1), 95–100.  https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-2648.1997.1997025095.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hung, S. L., & Zhou, D. R. (2017). Peer support program for Chinese low income mothers: An evaluation study and implications for practice. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 26(9), 2640–2652.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-017-0763-z.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Johnson, S. B., & Pryce, J. M. (2013). Therapeutic mentoring: Reducing the impact of trauma for foster youth. Child Welfare, 92(3), 9–25. Retrieved April 20, 2019 from https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Julia_Pryce/publication/262264001_Therapeutic_Mentoring_Reducing_the_Impact_of_Trauma_for_Foster_Youth/links/55f07be608ae0af8ee1d20e8/Therapeutic-Mentoring-Reducing-the-Impact-of-Trauma-for-Foster-Youth.pdf.
  25. Konrad, S. C. (2007). What parents of seriously ill children value: Parent-to-parent connection and mentorship. OMEGA Journal of Death and Dying, 55(2), 117–130.  https://doi.org/10.2190/OM.55.2.b.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Lee, R. E., & Lynch, M. T. (1998). Combating foster care drift: An ecosystemic treatment model for neglect cases. Contemporary Family Therapy, 20(3), 351–370.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10591-018-09487-1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lietz, C. A., Julien-Chinn, F. J., Geiger, J. M., & Hayes Piel, M. (2016). Cultivating resilience in families who foster: Understanding how families cope and adapt over time. Family Process, 55(4), 660–672.  https://doi.org/10.1111/famp.12239.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Luke, N. & Sebba, J. (2013). Supporting each other: An international literature review on peer contact between foster carers. Oxford, UK: University of Oxford Rees Centre. Retrieved April 20, 2019 from http://reescentre.education.ox.ac.uk/research/publications/supporting-each-other-2/.
  29. Metcalfe, W. A., & Sanders, G. F. (2012). Foster parent experience: The later years. Child Welfare, 91(4), 127–145. Retrieved April 20, 2019 from https://search.proquest.com/docview/1509394950?pq-origsite=gscholar.
  30. Miller, J. J., Benner, K., Pope, N., Dumas, T., Damron, L. J., Segress, M., … Niu, C. (2017a). Conceptualizing effective foster parent mentor programs: A participatory planning process. Children and Youth Services Review73, 411-418.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2017.01.004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Miller, J. J., Benner, K., Thrasher, S., Pope, N., Dumas, T., Damron, L. J., … Niu, C. (2017b). Planning a mentorship initiative for foster parents: Does gender matter?. Evaluation and program planning64, 78-84.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2017.05.009.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Miller, J. J., Cooley, M., Niu, C., Segress, M., Fletcher, J., Bowman, K., et al. (2019). Support, information seeking, and homophily in a virtual support group for adoptive parents: Impact on perceived empathy. Children and Youth Services Review.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2019.03.047.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Mitchell, G., Absler, D., & Humphreys, C. (2015). “She’ s just like me”: The role of the mentor with vulnerable mothers and their Infants. Children Australia, 40(1), 33–42.  https://doi.org/10.1017/cha.2014.52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Murphy, C. A., Cupples, M. E., Percy, A., Halliday, H. L., & Stewart, M. C. (2008). Peer-mentoring for first-time mothers from areas of socio-economic disadvantage: A qualitative study within a randomized controlled trial. BMC Health Services Research, 11(46), 1–11.  https://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6963-8-46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Nilsen, W. (2007). Fostering futures: A preventive intervention program for school-age children in foster care. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 12(1), 45–63.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1359104507071055.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Onuoha, F. N., Munakata, T., Serumaga-Zake, P. A. E., Nyonyintono, R. M., & Bogere, S. M. (2009). Negative mental health factors in children orphaned by AIDs: Natural mentoring as a palliative care. AIDS Behaviour, 13, 980–988.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10461-008-9459-0.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Randle, M., Ernst, D., Leisch, F., & Dolnicar, S. (2017). What makes foster carers think about quitting? Recommendations for improved retention of foster carers. Child and Family Social Work, 22(3), 1175–1186.  https://doi.org/10.1111/cfs.12334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Randle, M., Miller, L., Stirling, J., & Dolnicar, S. (2016). Framing advertisements to elicit positive emotions and attract foster carers: An investigation into the effects of advertising on high-cognitive-elaboration donations. Journal of Advertising Research, 56(4), 456–469.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Rhodes, K. W., Orme, J. G., & Buehler, C. (2001). A comparison of family foster parents who quit, consider quitting, and plan to continue fostering. Social Service Review, 75(1), 84–114.  https://doi.org/10.1086/591883.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Rygg, M., & Lorås, L. (2019). Foster parents’ experiences with child-oriented family therapy: A qualitative study. Contemporary Family Therapy, 41, 285–292.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10591-019-09497-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Sears, J. S., Hall, M. T., Harris, L. M., Mount, S., Willauer, T., Posze, L., et al. (2017). “Like a marriage”: Partnering with peer mentors in child welfare. Children and Youth Services Review, 74, 80–86.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2017.01.023.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Spielfogel, J. E., Leathers, S. J., Christian, E., & Mcmeel, L. S. (2011). Children and youth services review parent management training, relationships with agency staff, and child mental health: Urban foster parents’ perspectives. Children and Youth Services Review, 33(11), 2366–2374.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2011.08.008.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  43. Trochim, W. (1993). Reliability of concept mapping. Paper presented at the annual conference of the American Evaluation Association, Dallas, TX. Retrieved July 27, 2019 from https://socialresearchmethods.net/mapping/mapping.htm.
  44. Whenan, R., Oxlad, M., & Lushington, K. (2009). Factors associated with foster carer well-being, satisfaction and intention to continue providing out-of-home care. Children and Youth Services Review, 31(7), 752–760.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2009.02.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Western UniversityLondonCanada

Personalised recommendations