The meaning of “child caring” in post-ASFA child welfare practice


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

This dissertation draws from an interpretive policy framework to investigate how licensed child welfare professionals, who work at purchase of service agencies, think about placement, permanency, and policy in-light of the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 and Illinois’ related permanency initiatives. This dissertation follows the three-paper format. The first paper, “Chapter Three,” explores how licensed child welfare professionals think about their agency’s acceptance of a child into its program and placement into the children’s first foster placement. This analysis suggests that the organizational goals of the private child welfare agency to maintain necessary financial resources is an influencing factors in agency decisions to accept and place children. The second paper, “Chapter Four,” investigates how licensed child welfare professionals think about foster parents who they believe are financially motivated in their decision to care for children. In doing so, it furthers understanding about how ideas about financial motivation and the expectations of foster parenting roles affect the implementation of foster care policies. The final paper, “Chapter Five,” uses frame analysis to examine how licensed child professionals think about foster parents and their use of maintenance payments to provide basic care. It identifies two frames, “Self Sufficiency” and “Societal Benefit,” that shape how child welfare staff think about resource-poor foster parents and their use of government provided maintenance payments intended to support children in state care. The paper shows how these frames influence who workers believe should foster, the amount of support foster parents should receive to care for children, and how foster parents should use the maintenance payments. In this dissertation’s conclusion, I summarize and synthesize the findings of the three papers.

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