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July/August 2021Vol. 22, No. 7Cultivating Resilience in New Foster Parents Through Mentoring

A recent article in Children and Youth Services Reviews discusses a study that explores the relationship between mentoring and resilience in new foster parents and how mentors can help new foster parents. Mentorship between experienced and inexperienced foster parents has shown to improve retention and increase the mentee's ability to manage the behavioral problems of children in their care. It also provides new foster parents with additional supportive contacts and encourages greater parental engagement, which leads to better outcomes for youth in foster care. However, mentorship between foster parents is understudied in comparison to mentorship for youth in foster care. 

The article explains the risk and resilience framework-that is, how risks can be mitigated by protective factors and a person's dynamic capacity to adapt to challenges-and posits that mentorship is a possible strategy to strengthen the protective factors of new foster parents. Researchers interviewed 10 sets of mentors and mentees over 7 months. Their responses were analyzed for comparisons and repeating concepts and themes.

Four themes emerged:

  1. Permit yourself to grieve.
  2. Take breaks.
  3. Set boundaries.
  4. Attend to the needs of the family.

The study also found that mentorship supports intrapersonal growth, with foster parents gaining a deeper understanding of how fostering affected them. The experienced foster parent mentors were a continuing source of support for the novice foster parents, helped them navigate their unique challenges, and validated their emotions and experiences. 

Read the article, "Cultivating Resilience in New Foster Parents Through Mentoring: A Dyadic Analysis," for more information.