Publication Details

Randle, M., Ernst, D., Leisch, F. & Dolnicar, S. (2017). What makes foster carers think about quitting? Recommendations for improved retention of foster carers. Child and Family Social Work, 22 (3), 1175-1186.


Ideation, or the formulation of ideas pertaining to a particular topic, is the precursor to individuals making significant life decisions. Many individuals think about foster caring long before they actually become carers and it stands to reason that in many cases carer discontinuation also follows a period of ideation. This being the case, it is possible that by monitoring ideation, interventions could be introduced to prevent placement disruptions occurring, particularly if the sources of dissatisfaction are known. Using a sample of 205 foster carers, a posteriori segmentation analysis identifies groups of carers dissatisfied with the same aspects of their role. One group is particularly dissatisfied with factors that are within the control of foster care agencies and also reports high levels of discontinuation ideation. Recommendations include that the individual support needs of carers be identified such that customised support can be offered, including boosting initial and ongoing training to manage expectations and ensure carers feel prepared for the role. Results also highlight the important role of caseworkers in making carers feel appreciated and taken seriously.

Grant Number


Grant Number


Available for download on Sunday, November 11, 2018

Included in

Business Commons