Predictors of foster parents' satisfaction and intent to continue to foster

Ramona Denby, Nolan Rindfleisch, Gerald Bean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Scopus citations


Objective: The United States General Accounting Office (United States General Accounting Office [USGAO], 1989) report on out-of-home care affirmed that the foster care system is in crisis. To shed light on some factors that influence retention, the study reported here asked 'What factors influence the satisfaction of foster parents?' and 'What factors influence the intent of licensed foster parents to continue to foster?'. Method: A sample of 539 foster parents in eight urban counties in a large Midwestern state completed questionnaires aimed at addressing these questions. Results: Some of the factors exerting the strongest influence on satisfaction were: feeling competent to handle the children who were placed; wanting to take in children who needed loving parents; no regrets about investment in foster children; foster mother's age; and agency social worker providing information and showing approval for a job well done. An example of factors exerting influence on intent to continue to foster include overall satisfaction, readiness to phone the social worker, number of foster boys in the home, being treated like one needed help oneself, and agency affiliation (private). Conclusions: Efforts to increase the supply of foster homes through recruitment is not enough. The support, training, and professional regard given to parents after they have begun the fostering task is of greater need. Based on analysis of the findings, implications for practice, programming, and policy are offered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-303
Number of pages17
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Child abuse
  • Foster care
  • Foster parent retention
  • Foster parents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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