The current study examined the possible gaps in meeting the needs of children in foster care, the additional skillsets that contribute to meeting their needs, and the role child life specialists play in meeting those needs. Additionally, the study looked specifically at how child life could find a place in the nontraditional setting of foster care. Two groups of participants were recruited for the study; the first group was comprised of child life specialists. The second group included professionals who worked directly with children in foster care in some capacity. Two surveys were designed and conducted, one for each group. Generally, both groups of participants identified the following unmet needs: emotional needs, attachment needs, behavioral needs, supporting children in coping, and psychological preparation. Skillset matches for meeting these needs included experience in psychological preparation for children, knowledge in supporting coping, child development expertise, and awareness of family-centered care. These matches are closely tied to child life specialists' training. Additionally, there seems to be a lack of play in working with foster children, and this was identified as a possible gap in the system, highlighting another way child life specialists could support children in foster care. Through this study, clear ways were identified in which child life specialists could strengthen the services provided to children in foster care. These results have implications for an interdisciplinary future of the child life field.
Keywords: child life, foster care, unmet needs, child life in nontraditional roles
|Advisor:||Shimpi, Priya, Perez, Linda|
|Department:||School of Education|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 53/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Social work, Early childhood education, Developmental psychology|
|Keywords:||Child life, Child life in nontraditional roles, Foster care, Unmet needs|
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