Risk, resilience, and complexity: Experiences of foster parents

Morgan E. Cooley, Heather M. Thompson, Armeda Stevenson Wojciak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Foster parents are the individuals who provide caregiving services to children in substitute care. Foster parents are faced with multiple demands when it comes to providing care for foster children, for which they may not expect or be prepared. The purpose of this study was to examine current and former foster parents’ experiences within the child welfare system to better understand what their unique experiences have been and their perception of the need for changes to the system, specifically highlighting areas of resilience. This study included 39 current and former foster parents from across the United States. Three overarching themes were identified: concerns about the complexity of the child welfare system, personal narratives that highlight the complexity in the system, and means of navigating complex experiences within the child welfare system. Findings were described and discussed within the context of a resilience model. These findings have implications for foster parent training, support, and intervention with foster parents currently involved in the child welfare system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-41
Number of pages7
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
StatePublished - May 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017


  • Child welfare system
  • Complexity
  • Foster care
  • Foster parent
  • Resilience


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