Published January 26, 2015
Congratulations to Associate Professor Barbara Rittner, Assistant Professor Annette Semanchin Jones and PhD alumni Dr. Melissa Affronti on the publication of their paper, "Functional Adaption to Foster Care: Foster Care Alumni Speak Out" in the Journal of Public Child Welfare.
Eighteen foster care alumni, ranging in age from 18–25, were interviewed in this qualitative study about which foster parent behaviors helped them functionally adapt to foster care. Good foster parents were able to balance consistency and clear expectations with a sense of individualized application of rules. They made the youth feel included in their families by using inclusive terms such as “our family” or “our home” and invited them to join their own extended family gatherings and events. They never referred to them as a “foster” child. They were emotionally available without being intrusive, especially about stressful events that led to being in foster care or as a result of being in foster care. They facilitated ongoing contact with important people from their past without being judgmental. Good foster parents used their own resources, tried to accommodate personal tastes, and supported extracurricular activities and in doing so, helped these youth feel valued.