The findings reported here are part of a larger project that has been underway between the researchers and the Child Welfare League of Canada. This partnership was originally formed with the common goal of exploring the foster parent experience in Canada. We set out to explore the challenges that lead foster parents to feeling overwhelmed and ultimately, looking to resign their roles as carers. The second part of our study as elaborated on here, took the insights that we gathered from part one to create an online support focusing on foster parents’ needs and wellbeing.
In total, 941 foster families across Canada participated in this first phase of our study. The majority of these foster parents were of European-Canadian decent, with at least one caregiver working outside of the home. Each participant was asked to complete a survey related to their experiences as foster parents. In the second phase of this project, 30 foster parents were recruited in Southwestern Ontario to participate in this pilot phase for the online modules.
Our findings from the first phase of this project indicate that many Canadian foster parents are feeling stressed in their roles as carers, and have thought about resigning. We set out to build on these learnings to develop a resource that can focus specifically on the needs of foster parents, and as such, support them in this important role. Overall, feedback was very positive with almost all parents taking something helpful away from the course.
For more information, visit the Foster Parent Project website.