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Factors predicting foster carer satisfaction and the decision to stay in fostering Mrs Anne Eaton Dr Marie Caltabiano James Cook University.

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Presentation on theme: "Factors predicting foster carer satisfaction and the decision to stay in fostering Mrs Anne Eaton Dr Marie Caltabiano James Cook University."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Factors predicting foster carer satisfaction and the decision to stay in fostering Mrs Anne Eaton Dr Marie Caltabiano James Cook University

3 I can understand why there is not only a shortage of [foster] carers but also why new carers quite often last for only a short time. … I have three children of my own but have opened my home to others. After being approved recently, I was asked to care for three extra children which I took on as I was the last resort due to the short supply of carers. I have as yet been given no training, no information, no handbook. I have no idea if there are any support groups or meetings I can attend. I do not know what my entitlements are in regards to support, transport, equipment etc… (A Queensland Foster Carer, April 2005)

4 Out-of-Home Care Queensland An increase of 69% in three years 2005: 5,337 Children in Foster care 2002: 3,163 Children in Foster Care 2004: 4,184 Children in Foster Care 2003: 3,497 Children in Foster Care (Department of Child Safety, 2006)

5 Foster Carers “a person who has been fully assessed, trained and approved by the Department of Child Safety to provide family-based care for children who are subject to statutory child protection intervention” (p.33). (Department of Child Safety, 2004) Definition

6 Status of Foster Carers Foster carers are frequently treated almost as a necessary evil rather than specialist volunteers who contribute much emotionally, personally and financially to the care of children. (p.117, CMC, 2004)

7 Some Background Research 84% rate support as very important Lack of support - a reason for quitting Job control is more rewarding Lack of control lowers satisfaction

8 Some Background Research Satisfaction impacts on retention Intention to quit correlated with departure (AFCA, 2001; Baum et al, 2001; Bond & Bunce, 2003; Carter, 2004; Dollard et al., 2000; McHugh, 2002; Pasztor & Wynne, 1995; Sinclair et al, 2004; McCubbin et el, 1996; Pearlin et al, 1990; Reber, 1995) Satisfaction is linked to motivation

9 Our Research investigated the interaction between perceived supports, locus of control, satisfaction, and personal commitment of Queensland foster carers and their possible influence on retention rates

10 What we Did 186 Queensland Foster Carers Members of Foster Care Queensland (FCQ) Self-Report Style Questionnaire (AFCA, 2001; Dept Child Safety, 2004)

11 What we did Demographic details about carers Support for fostering Foster Carer Locus of Control Satisfaction with fostering Commitment to the children in care Likelihood of staying or leaving Three open-ended questions Questionnaire content included:

12 What we expected -The Hypotheses Support Control Satisfaction Personal Commitment Stay or Leave Satisfaction

13 The Statistical Results DV: Total Satisfaction Multiple Regression Analysis IVs: Perceived Support & Locus of Control F (2,173) = 87.24, p <.001 Both IVs made a significant contribution to the prediction of the DV

14 The Statistical Results IVs: Satisfaction and Commitment Logistic Regression Analysis Both IVs made a significant contribution to the prediction of the DV DV: Stay or Leave

15 What we expected -The Hypotheses Support Control Satisfaction Personal Commitment Stay or Leave

16 So What? Retention Matching

17 The Factor Results Perceived Support – emotional & practical based on discrepancy between ideal and actual Lowest Discrepancies Highest Discrepancies Spouse/PartnerChild Safety Officer Best FriendAgency Support Person Extended Family MemberFCQ FAST Delegate overall lower than ideal Lowest Discrepancies Highest Discrepancies Spouse/PartnerChild Safety Officer Best FriendAgency Support Person Extended Family MemberFCQ FAST Delegate Lowest Discrepancies Highest Discrepancies Spouse/PartnerChild Safety Officer Best FriendAgency Support Person Extended Family MemberFCQ FAST Delegate Lowest Discrepancies Highest Discrepancies Spouse/PartnerChild Safety Officer Best FriendAgency Support Person Extended Family MemberFCQ FAST Delegate Lowest Discrepancies Highest Discrepancies Spouse/PartnerChild Safety Officer Best FriendAgency Support Person Extended Family MemberFCQ FAST Delegate Lowest Discrepancies Highest Discrepancies Spouse/PartnerChild Safety Officer Best FriendAgency Support Person Extended Family MemberFCQ FAST Delegate Foster carer to foster carer

18 The Factor Results Normal distribution of scores Locus of Control Slightly more internals than externals

19 The Factor Results Personal Commitment Have you made a personal commitment to a child in your care? N% Yes No No Answer31.6 Total Have you made a personal commitment to a child in your care? N% Yes No No Answer31.6 Total Have you made a personal commitment to a child in your care? N% Yes No No Answer31.6 Total

20 The Factor Results Overall Satisfaction with Fostering N% Very Satisfied Satisfied Neither Satisfied nor dissatisfied Unsatisfied Very unsatisfied Total Overall Satisfaction with Fostering N% Very Satisfied Satisfied Neither Satisfied nor dissatisfied Unsatisfied Very unsatisfied Total Overall Satisfaction with Fostering N% Very Satisfied Satisfied Neither Satisfied nor dissatisfied Unsatisfied Very unsatisfied Total % 23.6%

21 The Factor Results Leave or Stay? Likely to Give up in Next 18 Months N% Very likely Somewhat likely105.4 Unsure Somewhat Unlikely Very unlikely Total %

22 The Factor Results Plus… Logistic Regression Analysis of Likelihood to Stay as a Dependant of Satisfaction and Commitment 95% CI for Odds Ratio VariablesBWald Test dfSigOdds Ratio UpperLower Commitment Satisfaction Logistic Regression Logistic Regression Analysis of Likelihood to Stay as a Dependant of Satisfaction and Commitment 95% CI for Odds Ratio VariablesBWald Test dfSigOdds Ratio UpperLower Commitment Satisfaction Logistic Regression Analysis of Likelihood to Stay as a Dependant of Satisfaction and Commitment 95% CI for Odds Ratio VariablesBWald Test dfSigOdds Ratio UpperLower Commitment Satisfaction Commitment has a greatest impact

23 The Factor Results “ I am 150% committed to the two children I have in care. Their needs are foremost in my life…” “[My] commitment to a seven year-old child in our long ‑ term care…” “We are very committed to the long-term children we have” Commitment has the greatest impact

24 “Despite the massive inadequacies at the department our unconditional love and support to our foster child, and the joy she has brought to our family makes it all worthwhile” The Factor Results Commitment has the greatest impact “The children I have are the only reason I will not give up fostering”

25 Conclusion Control and support  Satisfaction Official supports need improvement Satisfaction and commitment  Retention 20% (317) expected to leave Replacement is difficult and costly Children will be affected IF carers numbers decrease

26 Conclusion Recognition Some control and more support Consideration of satisfaction levels Remember: Foster carers are volunteers! High quality of care More stable home environment More experienced carers

27 Thank You Contact Details Dr Marie Caltabiano Phone Mrs Anne Eaton Phone

28 References Australian Foster Care Association. (2001). Suppoerting Strong Parenting in the Australian Foster Care Sector. Canberra: Department of Family and Community Services. Retrieved March 16, 2003 from: http//www.fcaact.org.au/exec_ht.html Australian Foster Care Association (2005). Foster Care – The current Context. Retrieved 18 June, 2006, from Baum, A.C., Crase, S.J., & Crase, K.L. (2001). Influences on the decision to become or not become a foster parent. Families in Society, 82 (2), CMC. (2004). Protecting Children: An Inquiry into Abuse of Children in Foster Care. Brisbane: The Crime and Misconduct Commission, Queensland. Carter, J. (2004). Wanted: A New Vision for Foster Care. Paper presented at the Australian Foster Care Association Annual Conference, Canberra.

29 References Delfabbro, P., Barber, J.G., & Cooper, L (2000). Placement disruption and dislocation in South Australian substitute care. Children Australia, 25, Department of Child Safety. (2004). Child Protection Queensland: 2004 Child Protection System ‘Baseline’ Performance Report. Brisbane: Queensland Government McCubbin, H., Thompson, A., & McCubbin, M. (1996). Family assessment: Resiliency, coping and adaptation – Inventories for research and practice. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin System. McHugh, M. (2002). The Costs of Caring: A Study of Appropriate Foster Care Payments for Stable and Adequate Out-of-Home Care in Australia. Report prepared for Child and Family Welfare Association of Australia, Australian Foster Care Association, and the Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies: Social Policy Research Centre, University of New South Wales.

30 References O’Neill, C. (2000). Adoption, permanent care and foster care: Home-based care in and beyond the 199’s. Journal of Pediatrician's: Child Health, 36, Pasztor, E.M. & Wynne, S.F. (1995). Foster Parent Retention and Recruitment: The State of the Art in Practice and Policy. Washington: Child Welfare League of America. Pearlin, L.I., Mullan, J.T., Sempe, S.J. & Skaff, M.M. (1990). Caregiving and the stress process: An overview of concepts and their measure. The Gerontologist, 30, Sinclair, I., Gibbs, I., & Wilson, K. (2004). Foster Carers: Why They Stay and Why They Leave. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Wilson, K., Sinclair, I., & Gibbs, I. (2000). The trouble with foster care: the impact of stressful ‘events’ on foster carers. British Journal of Social Work, 30,

31 What carers were satisfied with Looking after foster children Feeling pride in being a foster carer Saw caring for foster child as enjoyable The number of meetings to attend Availability of reimbursements for child- related costs Value of training offered Quality of training offered

32 What carers were not satisfied with Amount of emotional support received Needing to assert their rights to be treated as a professional team member Reliability of promises by departmental workers Emotional support received is as good as for paid employment The range of the training offered

33 What carers were not satisfied with Organization of practical supports About the need for some of the training Grief and loss support when child leaves Their opportunities to participate in policy development and changes Departmental processes that makes it difficult to be a good carer The emotional support that is received


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