Introduction: There are 400,000 children served in the United States foster care system annually (DHHS, 2019). Foster parents are often not trained to handle the complex physical, mental and emotional needs of foster care youth, who often externalize their behavior. Foster parents report difficulty in managing these behaviors at home. The purpose of this review was to examine the outcomes of a foster parent training program on foster care youth behaviors. Methods: A literature review of CINAHL and Google Scholar yielded seven articles about the efficacy of foster parent training programs on foster care youth. Results: One program, Keeping Foster and Kin Parents Supported and Trained (KEEP) (KEEP Supporting Foster and Kinship Families 2019), was particularly effective in helping foster parents manage their foster children. Foster parents trained using the KEEP program used positive reinforcement instead of punishment when addressing behavioral problems. The number of behavior problems was measured at baseline in both groups and after the intervention group had gone through KEEP training. The average number of behavioral problems decreased more in children whose foster parent participated in KEEP training than in those whose did not. Conclusion/Future Research: The KEEP program demonstrates positive results in helping foster families manage problem behaviors. Foster families attending KEEP training experienced improved behaviors from their foster youth. Future research should focus on generalizing this information to a wider audience of foster care families, and potentially, to help manage foster care youth behavior in school settings.
Andrea Warner Stidham
Foster parents are not usually trained to manage the complex needs of their foster children. Foster children often externalize their behavior, and foster parents report difficulty in managing those behaviors. The Keeping Foster and Kin Parents Supported and Trained (KEEP) program has shown effectiveness in helping foster parents manage their foster children. The program teaches foster parents how to increasingly use positive reinforcement instead of punishment while addressing these behavior problems. When comparing a group of children whose foster parent received KEEP training to a group whose did not, before and after the training, the average number of behavioral problems decreased more in children whose foster parent participated in KEEP training than in those whose did not.