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Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare

Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare

Full Family Foster Care

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Recently at CASCW's supportive housing training, the topic of full family (FF) foster care was brought up. This sparked my curiosity regarding current research on the effectiveness of FF foster care, which is also referred to as whole family foster care. In doing a brief search of the literature, it became apparent that the most recent research on FF foster care is from the late 1990s and early 2000, including:

  • One article from 1992, entitled Fostering Homeless Children and Their Parents Too: The Emergence of Whole-Family Foster Care, which is about a non-profit agency in Minnesota whose mission was to provide FF foster care;
  • Federal data on Shared Family Care from Child Welfare Information Gateway; &
  • An article on page 40 of CASCW's 2010 edition of CW360°, written by a birth parent who participated in FF foster care.
Currently in Minnesota, there is at least one agency (Therapeutic Services Agency) that does indicate the ability to provide, on a limited basis, FF foster care in its therapeutic foster homes. Informal reports show that some Minnesota counties continue to use FF foster care on a case-by-case basis, especially when the family is composed of a young mother and her infant(s).

It is intriguing to me why this practice has lost focus in the research. Some questions I have are:

  • Is FF foster care viewed as ineffective by the practice community?
  • Does the use of kinship care providers and the practice of parents and their children moving in with extended family members decrease the need for FF foster care?
  • Were the costs prohibitive?
What do you think of FF foster care? Does your county utilize FF foster care? Please leave us a comment.

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