Date of Award
Doctor of Occupational Therapy
Rachel Diamant, PhD, OTR/L, BCP
Foster children and their caregivers are underrepresented and overlooked in many aspects of their care. Lack of resources and services leave them in the dark, both financially and medically, resulting in around a 50% guardian retention rate (National Council for Adoption, 2018). Constantly being uprooted and either placed in a new home or a group home, foster children rarely achieve a feeling of belonging, leading to a plethora of health problems (Fawley-King, Trask, Zhang, & Aarons, 2017). Occupational therapists have the potential to develop programs that encourage development and progression in this demographic, as well as programs that allow for resources to be properly compiled, utilized, and spread to the pertinent population. As a contribution to the research undertaken for this study and the foster guardian community, The Fostering Healthy Parents program was developed. This program was designed to bring foster guardians together in an effort to bridge the gap between the lack of resources and feelings of isolation. Surveys found that training opportunities and resources/support were the most requested services that the guardians were missing. The most challenging aspects of fostering were the management of challenging behaviors, negotiation of the difficulties within the legal system, and the level of personal commitment involved. Occupational therapists need to focus on this demographic to ensure that more children are receiving the support and guardianship that they need. Providing a solid foundation for the foster parents in the form of support, resources, and services is the best starting point, as they will be more able to provide the best care for their foster children.
Cregar, Kelly, "The Fostering Healthy Parents Program: A Specialized Program Developed for the Foster Care Community" (2020). OT Student Capstones. 33.