Purpose. Children that are placed in California's foster care system continue to need permanent foster care homes that are available, suitable, and best support permanency. There have been studies performed statewide that explore the issue of unavailable foster care homes, but no real empirical research has been performed that address the core reasons for the shortage. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the recruitment method of foster care homes, to assess the training methods for foster care homes, to determine whether the retention methods use for foster care homes is effective, and to make recommendations for enhancing the recruitment, training, and retention efforts in California.
Theoretical Framework. The theoretical framework of this study is based on research theories of: theory constructs, program theory, implementation theory, and decision-making theory and practice.
Methodology. The study utilized an ex post factor research method focusing on the use of secondary data. The study focused on the State of California's recruitment, training, and retention of foster care families during the period 2004-2007. Research questions were answered using comparative quantitative analysis over program years. The longitudinal process conducted multiple measurements of foster care families over time. The information was assessed over 3 years and entered annually into an electronic research database.
Findings. The examination of the data from the state of California public database system indicated that in areas of recruitment, training, and retention of foster care homes, there was an unstable increase and decrease in all three areas over program years.
Conclusions. The study supports the conclusion that in spite of every effort by the state of California to implement new methods that would increase the recruitment, training, and retention of foster care homes, the efforts fell short of the intended outcome. The study recommends that current policies and procedures be reviewed annually, further research is advised, and that each county in the state of California be mandated to follow the same strategic plan of action.
Recommendation. The study recommends that the barriers to recruitment, training, and retention be monitored on a quarterly basis. The study recommends that the results be shared with the state of California of possible implementation. The study recommends that payment for respite and the recruitment for mentoring programs across the state be funded and implemented immediately.