Measuring the Willingness to Foster Children With Emotional and Behavioral Problems

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Many children in foster care have emotional or behavioral problems or are at risk for these problems. It is important to identify parents willing to foster children with these problems in order to ensure placement, care, stability and well-being of such children. This study presents a new 40-item self-report measure of the willingness of parents to foster children with emotional and behavioral problems, and two 20-item parallel forms of this measure. In addition, this study presents evidence of reliability and validity of scores derived from these measures with a national sample of 297 foster mothers. Coefficient alpha for these measures was 92 or greater, indicating excellent internal consistency reliability. Scores from these measures were unrelated to demographic characteristics, providing evidence of discriminant validity. In addition, scores from these measures were higher for foster mothers licensed to provide treatment foster care than for mothers only licensed to provide regular foster care, providing support for known groups validity. Finally, support for construct validity is provided by the fact that foster mothers with higher scores on these measures had fostered longer, were fostering more children at the time of this study, and had fewer children removed from their home at their request.