Fostering in the welfare states of the US and Norwayedit
This paper aims to explore the differences between Norwegian and US welfare state ideologies, and if or how they are reflected in the respective foster care systems and in the daily practices of foster parents. Our analysis combines a review of policy documents and legal regulations, with interviews in a sample of 141 exemplary foster parents (87 from the US and 54 from Norway). The paper identifies clear differences in how these two states take responsibility and provide services for families in general and foster parents in particular, examining distinct differences in the conditions foster parents have for exercising their parenting tasks. The findings from the interviews show how the conditions play out in real life for foster parents and foster children in relation to recruitment of caregivers, time and resources available to children, and how caregivers negotiate and advocate for children’s needs.