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Abstract

Better utilization of foster families might be linked to parents' reasons for fostering. This study used data from the National Survey of Current and Former Foster Parents to examine relationships between reasons for fostering and types of services and length of service foster parents provide. Top reasons for fostering were child-centered. The least endorsed reasons were self-oriented. Those who fostered to help children with special problems were more likely to have a child placed, had more children, and had fostered more types of special needs children. Parents who fostered because their children were grown were more likely to have a child placed, had more children, and were more likely to intend to continue fostering. Conversely, parents who wanted to be loved or who wanted companionship fostered fewer children. Implications for improving foster family utilization are discussed.

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