This brief identifies gaps in support services among foster parents using data from a nationally representative survey of children involved in the child welfare system (the second National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being).
Authors Wendy Walsh and Marybeth Mattingly report that the percentage of foster parents who received recent support services (within a six-month timeframe) varies dramatically by foster placement and support-service type. Kinship foster parents (both formal and informal) in all households regardless of poverty status are less likely to have received training, used respite care, or participated in peer support groups in the past six months compared with nonrelative foster parents. The authors conclude that even in this era of limited resources, it is important to make sure that all foster parents (those in poor and nonpoor households), and particularly kinship foster parents, have access to adequate support services to help ensure that children in out-of-home placements are nurtured and that foster parents receive the support they need to continue their important work.
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