What can agencies do to increase foster carer satisfaction?

Melanie Randle, Leonie Miller & Sara Dolnicar - Child & Family Social Work


Stable, long‐term foster care homes are critical to ensuring a safe and nurturing childhood for many children worldwide. Greater foster carer satisfaction is associated with increased carer retention and is therefore critical in securing such stable homes for children. The purpose of this study is to determine which factors associated with foster care agencies contribute to higher levels of foster carer satisfaction. Results from a longitudinal study of 137 foster carers indicate that perceived adequacy of agency support, preplacement training, money to cover placement expenses, and a good match between the carer and the child are predictive of higher foster carer satisfaction. A mediation model further points to the provision of preplacement training as key to ensuring higher levels of satisfaction. Results offer new insights into factors related to foster carer retention and provide guidance to foster care agencies about actions that they can take to maximize the retention of foster carers.