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Abstract

Because foster parent role ambiguity has been viewed primarily as a micro-level phenomenon, efforts to reduce its negative consequences have emphasized ameliorist solutions which attempt to alter the behavior of individuals. We suggest that consideration of role ambiguity as a macro-level phenomenon provides a sounder basis for developing long-range solutions which can alter the structure of foster care organizations in ways which will complement existing ameliorist strategies. As semi-professionals, the work-role expectations of foster parents are seen as being contradictory to the goals of a profess ionalizing organizational structure. The transitional nature of this professionalizing process, and the contradictions which it generates, are discussed. Some consequences are evidenced by empirical data obtained from a state-wide study of a public foster care organization.

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