Publication Details

Miller, L., Randle, M. & Dolnicar, S. (2019). Carer Factors Associated with Foster-Placement Success and Breakdown. The British Journal of Social Work, 49 (2), 503-522.


The characteristics of carers in successful foster placements are identified to enable targeting them through customised marketing and recruitment campaigns. A longitudinal study with seventy-five carers was conducted over twenty months. Eleven instances of placement breakdown were compared to placements that did not break down. Several personal and family factors were identified as increasing the likelihood of foster-placement success, including higher cognitive empathy of the carer, a high level of social support from family, a high-quality carer-partner relationship, higher levels of care-giving and role-carer demand satisfaction, and a good match, fewer conflicts and better relationship between the carer and foster child. Conflicts between the carer and the child mediate the association between carer-partner relationship quality and carer satisfaction with role demands. Findings have important practical implications: additional evaluations should be conducted during screening processes with a focus on the key markers of placement success identified in this study; more emphasis should be placed on developing support networks amongst carers' friends and family; and greater involvement of carer partners in screening and training processes is of key importance.

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