University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Division of Agriculture

Article Title

Needs of Foster Parents


Resilience, risk, foster children, foster parents, qualitative


Children in foster care are likely to have experienced some form of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). These ACEs can leave them vulnerable when faced with difficult future situations. There are several studies that examine the resiliency of children in foster care, but few examine foster children’s resiliency from the perspective of the child’s foster parents. The Oklahoma State University Center for Family Resilience administered a survey to 316 prospective, current, and former foster parents regarding their experiences with the foster care system. The data were analyzed using thematic analysis to determine themes based on Masten’s resiliency theory. Themes were coded into protective and risk factors, experiences with agencies, and how the foster care system could be improved. The findings suggest that children in foster care are likely to experience more risk factors than protective factors, which is likely to influence their level of resilience. In addition, agency workers have a significant impact on the foster parent experience, which in turn affects the quality of care and resources that the foster child receives and affecting their likelihood to be resilient in the future.