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Conceptualizing effective foster parent mentor programs: A participatory planning process


  • Jay Miller, J.
  • Benner, Kalea
  • Pope, Natalie
  • Dumas, Tamikia
  • Damron, Larry J.
  • Segress, Melissa
  • Slone, Melissa
  • Thrasher, Shawndaya
  • Niu, Chunling


Mentor programs have been recognized as an integral tool in the child welfare services array. However, there are few conceptual frameworks for planning and developing mentor programs for a key constituency group: foster parents. This study employed Concept Mapping (CM) with a convenience sample of 59 foster parents in one southeastern state. CM is a participatory, mixed-method research approach that utilizes non-metric multidimensional scaling and hierarchical cluster analyses to analyze qualitative data. As a result, pictorial representations of the data are generated. Results yielded seven (7) distinct clusters: Ongoing Supports, Matching Practices, and Program Evaluation, among others. Participants viewed the Recruitment cluster as most pertinent and most important for mentor programs. Contrariwise, Program Evaluation and Matching clusters were viewed as least feasible and least important, respectively. After a review of pertinent literature, this paper explicates CM methodology as applied to the current study, reports results, and discusses lessons learned as they apply to child welfare research and practice.

Suggested Citation

  • Jay Miller, J. & Benner, Kalea & Pope, Natalie & Dumas, Tamikia & Damron, Larry J. & Segress, Melissa & Slone, Melissa & Thrasher, Shawndaya & Niu, Chunling, 2017. "Conceptualizing effective foster parent mentor programs: A participatory planning process," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 411-418.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:cysrev:v:73:y:2017:i:c:p:411-418
    DOI: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2017.01.004

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rosas, Scott R. & Camphausen, Lauren C., 2007. "The use of concept mapping for scale development and validation in evaluation," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 125-135, May.
    2. Rosas, Scott R. & Kane, Mary, 2012. "Quality and rigor of the concept mapping methodology: A pooled study analysis," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 236-245.
    3. Greeson, Johanna K.P. & Usher, Lynn & Grinstein-Weiss, Michal, 2010. "One adult who is crazy about you: Can natural mentoring relationships increase assets among young adults with and without foster care experience?," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 565-577, April.
    4. Greeson, Johanna K.P. & Bowen, Natasha K., 2008. ""She holds my hand" The experiences of foster youth with their natural mentors," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(10), pages 1178-1188, October.
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    1. repec:eee:cysrev:v:79:y:2017:i:c:p:584-593 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:eee:epplan:v:64:y:2017:i:c:p:78-84 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:eee:cysrev:v:95:y:2018:i:c:p:300-307 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Foster parents; Mentorship; Concept Mapping;


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