Children in foster care are at risk for behavioral and emotional problems that require higher levels of care than other children. To meet these needs and reduce placement disruptions, foster parents require effective parenting skills.
Although a number of training models have been evaluated, the findings on the efficacy of foster parent training (FPT) are mixed. We conducted a meta-analysis of the FPT outcome research from 1984 to 2014 to develop a clearer understanding of the impact of such trainings.
Fifteen samples (16 studies) were identified that investigated the impact of FPT on self-reported parenting skills and knowledge and child problem behaviors. The mean effect size for child disruptive behavior using a random effects model was small but significant at -.20 (95% confidence interval [CI] = [-.39, -.01], Z = 2.05, p < .05), suggesting that, on average, foster parents who were involved in the trainings reported fewer child behavior problems than parents who did not receive the training.
The mean effect size for parenting was moderate and significant at .52 (95% CI = [.22, .82], Z = 3.38, p < .05), indicating that, on average, parents in the treatment groups reported higher levels of skills and knowledge following training than did those in the control group. While these results are promising, more research is necessary to investigate the inconsistency in effect sizes across studies.
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