Foster carer stress and satisfaction: An investigation of organisational, psychological and placement factors
Alyce McKeough graduated with a Master of Clinical Psychology from the University of Newcastle in 2015. She was awarded 2015 Clinical College Student Award from the Australian Psychological Society for her research. Recently, Alyce's paper was published in the Children and Youth Services Review. It is a great achievement that we would like to celebrate.
We would also like to acknowledge and remember Kylie Bear. Kylie started this study as part of her PhD and it was great to have Alyce to complete and extend her research. Kylie passed away after battling with ovarian cancer. Kylie was loved by her clients, both children and carers, in her work as a clinician at Life Without Barriers. Her passion for the welfare of children in out-of-home care was striking and her PhD project reflected her passion and aimed to improve the lives of foster carers and the children they look after. It was an inspiration to work with Kylie and to get to know her.
Below you can read a summary of the paper, and if you want to read the whole article, click here.
The unique demands of the foster carer role are associated with high levels of self-reported stress among foster carers. The current study examines the amount of carer stress that can be attributed to certain role specific challenges and how stress from these challenges varies between carers and placements. As a secondary aim the study examines carer perceptions on current organisational support and training. Participants were sourced from a national fostering agency with branches in the local area. Carers were eligible to participate in the study if they were caring full time for at least one foster child. Eligible carers completed an identical online or paper survey including measures of general stress and parenting stress as well as study specific measures regarding satisfaction with organisational training and support. Results demonstrated that challenging behaviours are the most stressful unique role demand for foster carers and the largest predictor of carer stress levels. Overwhelmingly carers reported a desire for additional training in order to support them in their role. The results support previous research outlining the difficulties faced by foster carers and the need to improve support and training to ensure good placement outcomes including placement stability and reduced carer attrition.
McKeough, A., et al. "Foster carer stress and satisfaction: An investigation of organisational, psychological and placement factors." Children and Youth Services Review 76 (2017): 10-19.