Youth in Foster Care and the Reasonable and Prudent Parenting Standard

Amanda Stafford McRell, Christian E. Holmes, Akanksha Singh, Sue E. Levkoff, Benjamin Schooley, Neşet Hikmet, Kristen D. Seay - Child Maltreatment


Children in foster care face disproportionate rates of biopsychosocial challenges but social and extracurricular activities (SEAs) may support their healthy development. The Reasonable and Prudent Parenting Standard (RPPS), a 2014 federal policy, aims to increase access to these opportunities for children in foster care. Analyses of statutes from 50 US states and the District of Columbia (n = 51) revealed similarities and differences in state-level RPPS policy implementation. Building on these findings, researchers conducted semi-structured retrospective telephone interviews with foster parents across one southeastern state (n = 20) to identify local retrospective perspectives on RPPS implementation. Using thematic inductive coding two unique themes emerged about SEAs prior to RPPS: 1) negative social impacts and 2) complicated activity approval processes. Three unique themes emerged after RPPS: 1) empowerment, 2) implementation disparities and 3) resource recommendations. Policy implications include the need to support foster parents by increasing resources (funding, transportation, access), clarifying liability and clarifying motivation expectations.