Date of Award

5-2004

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Social Work

Major Professor

John G. Orme

Committee Members

Terri Combs-Orme, Cheryl Buehler, Mary Sue Younger

Abstract

Foster family applicants form the pool from which caregivers are selected for the day-to-day care of the many vulnerable children placed in foster care, but limited research exists concerning the reliability and validity of standardized measures for assessing the potential of foster family applicants to provide successful foster care. This dissertation examines the psychometric properties of the Casey Foster Applicant Inventory – Worker Version (CFAI-W), a paper and pencil tool designed to assess the strengths and training and service needs of family foster care applicants.

Retrospective data were collected from 208 foster care workers who had at least one year of experience in licensing foster care applicants. Workers were asked to think about the best and worst foster families they had ever known and to think about these families as they knew them during the licensing process. Workers completed two copies of the CFAI-W (i.e., one for their best families and one for their worst families) and this resulted in a final sample of 712 applicants.

Results indicated that CFAI-W subscales, with the exception of the Kinship Care subgroup subscale, had excellent internal consistency reliability and predicted licensure status and child placement status among foster family applicants.

In conclusion, the CFAI-W is time and cost efficient, requires little training, and should be used in combination with other assessment methods to introduce standardization and accountability to the process of licensing foster family applicants.

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