Transitions in foster care : the development of training programmes for foster care workers : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at Massey University

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This thesis set out to develop training programmes for foster parents and social workers involved in the provision of foster care services, as a means to addressing the current crises in the field. Studies both nationally and internationally have been critical of efforts by agencies to provide stable placements to children who needed to be removed from their biological parents but, with some notable exceptions, few have gone on to address responses to these deficiencies in any systematic way. The first element in the development of these training programmes was to establish an epistemology which would provide a comprehensive framework for practice. Urie Bronfenbrenner's theory of human development and Garbarino's empirical research into environments which are detrimental to children were brought together with principles emerging from research into foster care, to develop an ecological framework for foster care. The ecological framework was then translated into a training methodology by means of the Developmental Research and Utilization Model advanced by Thomas. This methodology identified a series of reference points around which the training programmes were constructed. These training programmes, which are set out in Volume 2 of this dissertation, were then evaluated in agencies concerned with the provision of foster care services. Changes in perceptions about foster care, their methods of service delivery, increased attention to agency policies supporting effective intervention and delivery of foster care services were reported. Greater emphasis on the role of biological parents, agency responsibility for assessing their needs and providing them with appropriate services were highlighted. The direct impact of the training programmes on children, however, was beyond the scope of this thesis. Foster care is only one option to be considered when determining the most suitable alternative for a child. It can not be taken as a superior or inferior form of care in comparison to others but is only appropriate under certain circumstances. An important element in the management and development of a series of alternative options for children requiring substitute child care is knowledge about the extent of current provisions and their diverse forms. The thesis also reports on a limited survey of such facilities and programmes in New Zealand.
Volume 2, containing training materials and audio tapes held with print copy in Library.
Foster parents, Foster care training, Foster care services, New Zealand