An ecological systems approach to understanding social support in foster family resilience
journal contributionposted on 18.06.2018, 00:00 by Megan Hayes Piel, Jennifer M. Geiger, Francie J. Julien-Chinn, Cynthia A. Lietz
Families who care for children in the foster care system often experience challenges related to the system, accessing services and supports, and managing relationships. However, many families thrive as foster care providers possess unique attributes and strengths that contribute to experiences of resilience. With the use of an ecological framework, this study examined social support among resilient foster families in one southwestern state in the United States to better understand how foster caregivers experienced positive reciprocal transactions across systems. As part of a larger study, in-depth narrative interviews were conducted to examine the process of resilience for families who foster. Findings revealed that families accessed and benefited from social support on micro-, meso-, and macro-levels. Understanding how families cultivated social support across multiple levels offers implications for practice and policy when considering how best to retain and support families who care for vulnerable children and youth.