Restriction lift date: 2030-03-25
Enhancing foster carers’ capacity to promote placement stability: initial development and early stage evaluation of fostering connections: the Trauma-informed Foster Care Programme
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University College Cork
The research was motivated by a desire to make a contribution to reducing placement instability, particularly placement breakdown owing to its impact on children and the families who foster. The research emerged from a perceived gap in the training provision for foster carers in Ireland. The purpose of the research was to design, develop and evaluate a psychoeducational intervention for foster carers, that enhanced their capacity to provide children with trauma-informed care. The Development Stage involved completion of a narrative literature review of the effects of current trauma-informed care interventions for foster carers. It also involved a pre-intervention qualitative study that assessed the current practice climate and support for implementation of this intervention. The narrative review suggested that trauma-informed care could inform foster carers’ responses when caring for children who have experienced trauma. Participants in the pre-intervention study expressed the need for such a programme and a willingness to support its implementation in the current context of foster care in Ireland. A mixed method approach was used to synthesise the results of the narrative review and pre-intervention study to develop the group-based intervention, Fostering Connections. The Feasibility Stage involved a programme review by the local Fostering Team. At Evaluation Stage, a quasi-experimental study with a control group and a post-intervention qualitative study were completed. These two studies were combined using a triangulated analytical strategy to complete an early stage evaluation. A Stakeholder Group was established at the outset of this research to provide expert review to the research process. Preliminary evidence is promising and suggests that Fostering Connections may be an effective intervention for increasing foster carers’ capacity to provide children with trauma-informed care and in turn, is associated with improvement in child regulation and reduce peer problems over time. The study concludes that this intervention is likely to make a significant contribution to the training provision for foster carers in Ireland, supporting their capacity to care for children with trauma-related difficulties. The intervention is likely to, in turn, reduce child difficulties and thus, support placement stability.
Foster care , Psychoeducation , Intervention , Mixed methods , Developmental trauma , Trauma-informed care
Lotty, M. 2019. Enhancing foster carers’ capacity to promote placement stability: initial development and early stage evaluation of fostering connections: the Trauma-informed Foster Care Programme. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.