Predictors of success: Therapeutic Foster Parenting

Happy foster parents watching foster daughter winning cup

Therapeutic or Treatment Foster Care deals with the challenge of kids who have support needs that are more than that of traditional foster kids. According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway the therapeutic foster child needs a structured home environment that adds to a feeling of predictability and comfort in daily life.

We were delighted to note that one of the most cited scholarly papers on the question of outcomes is:

Redding, Richard E., Carrie Fried, and Preston A. Britner. “Predictors of placement outcomes in treatment foster care: Implications for foster parent selection and service delivery.” Journal of child and family studies 9.4 (2000): 425-447.

It turns out that Preston Britner is a University of Connecticut Professor. It just so happens that started it’s pilot program in Connecticut!

The paper itself is highly readable (download the full paper here) and explains things clearly. While published in 2000, we think many of these findings apply today for foster care outcomes.

We quote the section (pages 437-438) on Foster Parent Recruitment and highlight an observation made back in 2000:

“The recruitment of motivated and skilled foster parents is essential. Careful recruitment of qualified foster parents, followed by the training and support provided to foster parents, contributes to successful placement outcomes. Unfortunately, recruitment may be the biggest barrier to a successful TFC program; many researchers and practitioners (e.g., McIntyre & Keesler, 1986) argue that the demand for additional TFC placements far surpasses the current supply. The problem may not lie in the scarcity of willing and capable families, but rather, in the failure to devote sufficient energy to recruitment activities, to target the appropriate population, and/or to provide sufficient pay to attract parents interested in the professional aspects of treatment parenting (Chamberlin et al., 1992; Dawson, 1989).”

It’s only in the last few years that digital marketing and social media has exploded. Similarly, despite the many challenges of COVID-19, being forced to work,shop and play from home has made everyone technology savvy.

There is opportunity now to improve the parent recruitment process for both traditional and therapeutic foster children.


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