Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Social Work


Social Work

First Advisor

Christ Flaherty


Professionals of the child welfare system in Kentucky have continuously worked to retain and recruit new foster parents for the foster care system. Foster parents are uniquely placed in a surrogate caring position for children removed from their homes for reasons of abuse or neglect. Foster parents accept this role and step in to provide a safe and loving household for many children. There are more than 9,000 children placed in Out of Home Care (OOHC) on any given day in Kentucky, leaving many children in need of a loving and supportive household. Foster parents hang in the balance between providing care for someone else’s child and following the rules and regulations of the child welfare system while having little control over the outcomes for the child or the child’s case. Foster parents are more than volunteers but not quite employees who play a crucial role in the child welfare system and the stories of many children placed in foster care.

Using the findings from the Kentucky 2021 Foster Parent Satisfaction Survey (FPSS), this study is designed to identify how overall foster parent satisfaction might be impacted by several facets of the foster parenting process and how these components might impact foster parent recruitment and retention. This dissertation includes a literature review and discussion of role and equity theory as potential frameworks for understanding the findings from the FPSS. The FPSS is analyzed through multiple linear regression and binary logistic regression. The study’s conclusions highlight how a foster parent’s overall satisfaction with foster care is impacted by satisfaction with communication, caseworkers, and ongoing training. Similarly, findings regarding the retention and recruitment of foster parents showed various associations with satisfaction with caseworkers, communication, and ongoing training. This study shares implications for future practice and research for foster parent satisfaction, retention, and recruitment. Finally, considerations for new reliable scales for analysis of foster parent satisfaction with ongoing workers, recruitment and certification workers, ongoing training, and communication are explored.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)