September 2004Vol. 5, No. 7Evaluation of a Foster Parent Training Program Yields Promising Results
The State of New Hampshire uses Federal Title IV-E funds to support training for prospective foster parents through a partnership between the State Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) and the College for Lifelong Learning (CLL). In 2002, the partnership conducted an evaluation to determine the effectiveness of its 21-hour training program, Foundations for Fostering (FFF). The evaluation found this curriculum contributes to the knowledge base of prospective foster parents, enhances feelings of preparedness and confidence, and serves as a useful resource that participants can draw upon during initial foster placements.
Prospective foster parents (41) were surveyed at the beginning and end of training, and face-to-face interviews were conducted with participants (13) who went on to become licensed foster parents and had a child placed within 3 months of completing training.
- Participants felt significantly more prepared for foster parenting after training.
- Participants gained a better understanding of children in placement and the child welfare system in general.
- Participants appeared to apply the knowledge they gained when children were placed in their homes.
From the interviews, evaluators concluded that the sharing of fostering stories and real-life situations made a significant impression on the participants. Participants also indicated the need for further training in a number of areas, including the needs of older children, behavior management strategies, emotional disabilities, and services available to children in placement.
From these findings, evaluators concluded that preservice foster parent training offered through a Title IV-E university-agency partnership can provide numerous benefits. These findings support previous research indicating the importance of foster parent training. The partnership is repeating this study in State FY 2004 with an eye toward increasing the sample size.
More information about the Education and Training Partnership and the FFF curriculum is available at http://www.granite.edu/students/fostertraining.php.
For more information about the completed study (Part I), ongoing evaluation efforts, or to request a manuscript, please contact:
John B. Cook
Education & Training Partnership
College for Lifelong Learning
117 Pleasant Street, Dolloff Bldg.
Concord, NH 03301