What do foster carers tell us about their support needs? – Research briefDownload PDF
Foster carers are a crucial human resource in responding to children and young people who have experienced abuse, neglect, and trauma. The design and implementation of foster care programs varies across Australia and internationally. However, there are emerging commonalities in the available research that can guide the provision of more targeted and effective support for carers. Research suggests that carers require contemporary knowledge and skill development founded on contemporary trauma theory, enabling them to better understand and meet the needs of the children and young people in their care. Training and development opportunities that assist carers to respond to specific behaviours, such as aggression, sexualised behaviour, and behaviours stemming from anxiety or cognitive difficulties, have been identified as a priority by Australian carers. In addition, carers may benefit from self-care strategies and providing tailored emotional and practical support, including support to understand and navigate the service system. The available research strongly indicates that adopting a multi-dimensional approach to carer support is essential for effectively maintaining, retaining, and building the capacity of foster carers to meet the unique needs of children and young people in foster care.
This research brief provides an overview of foster carers’ learning and support needs based on their own perspectives.
- The need to enhance carers’ understanding of trauma and capacity to implement trauma-informed care
- The need to develop carers’ capacity to respond to behaviours they find challenging
- The need for carers to have access to services for children and young people in their care
- The need to continuously strengthen carers’ knowledge and skills in core areas
- The need to attend to carer well-being, including role clarity
- The need to understand the types of support that are helpful to carers