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How are foster carers selected? An international literature review of instruments used within foster carer selection.

The Rees Centre has published an international literature review of instruments used within foster carer selection. The review looks at questionnaires, evidence-gathering forms and supplementary instruments that have been used as part of the selection process, and evaluates the available evidence on their efficacy in predicting positive care outcomes. Authors: Nikki Luke and Judy Sebba.

How are foster carers selected? (900KB pdf file)

The review shows that the research on this is very limited. However, key themes emerging on the use of selection instruments include:

  • Their potential role to improve the selection of foster carers provided they are not used as the sole basis to accept or reject an applicant.
  •  Additional potential to use them for identifying strengths and areas in which foster carer applicants are likely to need training and support in the future.
  •  The lack of longer term outcome measures in the research studies and the fact that the studies have been done on established carers rather than applicants, means that it is impossible to judge whether the selection instruments do indeed help select the most effective foster carers.
  •  Inadequately trained interviewers that might affect applicants’ responses and thereby invalidate the findings.
  •  A need to recognise the importance of the on-going relationship between applicant and agency in developing and strengthening skills and competencies in fostering.
  •  The possibility for transfer of selection instruments across countries, bearing in mind that the cultural values reflected in the tool itself or in the process of selection within which it is embedded might create problems.
  • Full pdf versions of all Rees Centre publications are available here.

The next review will address the impact of fostering on foster carers' own children and will be published in October.


Visit the Rees Centre: Fostering in Research and Education website here

Tags: research, education, foster carer selection, Fostering, foster care
Published Sep. 11, 2013 12:15 PM