Date

2014

Major

Sociology (B.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. April M. Schueths

Abstract

Foster parents play a critical role in the life of children in foster care. Increasingly more foster parents are becoming the adoptive resource for these children. This exploratory qualitative study examines the lives of five foster families located in the southeastern part of the United States who have adopted at least one foster child and continued fostering other children in their home. The data were collected through in-depth, semi-structured interviews. This research fills a gap in the literature on how adoptive families are affected by the decision to continue fostering. Five main themes emerged from this study: Intention, Financial Incentives, Parenting Style, Family Bond, and Children’s Age. Children that were adopted at an older age tend to be more resistant to the idea of continuing to foster while children adopted at a younger age were more likely to understand this as part of family life. Findings also suggest that an open parenting style, in regard to communication and acceptance plays a role in the success of these families. Although the results of this study are preliminary, the findings are valuable in facilitating the best practices for placement of foster children.

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