Public perception of the foster care system: A national study

Christina Leber, Craig Lecroy

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    15 Scopus citations


    This study explores the American public's knowledge and perception of both the foster care system and foster parents, while examining the public's opinion of the foster care system's importance relative to other national social issues. Using random digit dialing techniques, this study asked 301 nationally representative respondents to complete a survey seeking their general knowledge and perception of the foster care system. Respondents revealed a largely positive attitude toward the foster care system, but the majority also believed that the system needed change and reform. Additionally, the results of this study reflected respondents' positive opinions regarding the motivations of foster parents while acknowledging some concern regarding the idea of financial compensation for foster parents. Respondents indicated a larger body of knowledge regarding the foster care system than was initially expected. However, when comparing the foster care system to other national social issues, respondents consistently placed the foster care system as less important and less serious than other social issues.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1633-1638
    Number of pages6
    JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
    Issue number9
    StatePublished - Sep 2012


    • Child welfare
    • Foster care
    • Foster parents
    • Kinship care
    • Public opinion

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Education
    • Developmental and Educational Psychology
    • Sociology and Political Science


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