A qualitative examination of the outcomes and impact of foster parent education
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Utilizing a qualitative approach, exit interviews were conducted with eight foster mothers who participated in a parent education program called Listening to Children (LTC). LTC is unique in that it mirrors the strengths of predominant models of parent education but is based on a unique set of philosophical and methodological underpinnings that blend parent education and parent support groups. Analysis of the interviews yielded insight into what participants learned during the H20intervention, how it affected their foster parenting, whether the LTC program was unique, and if so, in what ways. Results suggest that foster parent education programs can lead to an increased sense of social support and improved parenting skills, particularly in areas related to handling children's misbehavior and improving listening skills. Results also suggest that the structure and content of LTC render it unique among foster parent training programs and that its unique components, if implemented in other training models, might enhance the success and benefit of those programs as well. Although the sample was quite small, the information gleaned has important implications for practice in that it provides much needed and scarcely available feedback about what is necessary to make foster parent training a viable means through which to improve the fostering experience for both parents and children.