Interest from Tertiary Educated Persons in Fostering Children with Higher Care Needs under a Professional (Paid) Model Compared with General Foster Care

Lesley Habel, Robyn A. Clark, Leonie Segal

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    The number of Australian children requiring foster care due to abuse and neglect is increasing, with more children presenting with high care needs, creating a challenge for the recruitment and retention of foster carers. Carers with higher education recruited as professional foster carers may improve placement stability and outcomes for higher needs children. An e-survey was conducted to explore the level of interest of tertiary students in a professional model of fostering children with higher needs. An online survey covering demographic information, knowledge of and attitudes to foster care was completed by 644 university undergraduate and postgraduate students within the faculties of health, education, arts, and the social sciences. Twelve per cent (n = 77) of respondents said "yes" they would be interested in professional foster care; and 16% (n = 105) an interest in general foster care of which 5% (n = 32) said "yes" to both professional foster care and general foster care. Thus, 23% of respondents expressed an interested in some form of foster care. Psychology students were more likely than other students to be interested in professional foster care (27% of respondents). Results give merit to further enquiry into the application of a professional foster care model for higher care needs children requiring out-of-home care.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)8-25
    Number of pages18
    JournalAustralian Social Work
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2013


    • Higher Care Needs Children
    • Higher Educated Carers
    • Professional Foster Care

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Health(social science)
    • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
    • Sociology and Political Science

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