Feasibility of an intervention to improve the psychological well-being and academic skills of children in family foster care

Research output: Contribution to conference without a publisher/journalPaperCommunication


Background: Social work faces a major challenge in providing equal opportunities for children placed in out-of-home care, who typically exhibit poorer psychological well-being and educational outcomes compared to their peers. To address these problems and thereby secure more equitable outcomes for children in care, a four-year study was conducted to assess the feasibility of an intervention, Me and my foster family (MOMP). MOMP was introduced as a part of routine social work practice in eight Danish municipalities to improve parental monitoring of the foster children’s psychological well-being and academic skills as a protective factor, using standardized screening tools. These tools were administered via a digital platform by social workers to caregivers in the child’s various ecological contexts, enabling a holistic view of the child’s situation.

Objective: We investigate feasibility using the following criteria (Bowen 2019):
• Acceptability: To what extent was MOMP judged as suitable and attractive to program deliverers and recipients?
• Demand: To what extent is MOMP likely to be used?
• Implementation: To what extent can MOMP be successfully delivered to the intended participants in some defined context?
• Practicality: To what extent can MOMP be carried out with intended participants with existing resources and without outside intervention?
• Integration: To what extent can MOMP be integrated within an existing system?
Additionally, we investigate to what extent the intervention fits into the different municipal organizational contexts.

Methods: To answer these questions, we use a mixed-method design, analyzing quantitative data collected from social workers via the digital platform and from foster parents via a questionnaire and qualitative data from interviews with social workers and foster parents and observations of their meetings.

Results: Our findings indicate that the monitoring infrastructure was generally well-received by both program deliverers and recipients and the intervention was successfully implemented in the majority of the eight municipalities. Overall, social workers felt that the intervention strengthened their routine practice by giving them actionable knowledge that, when shared with the child and its other caregivers, could enable more effective help for the child, particularly in school. The foster parents felt that screening gave them new insights into their foster child’s strengths and difficulties and a stronger voice in requesting support to the children. However, the results suggest that certain ways of organizing intervention processes may be more effective than others. Some long-term challenges arise from social workers’ perceived difficulties in or negative preunderstanding of using screening results in counselling and the inability to integrate the screening routine with the existing municipal social care practices and IT systems.

Conclusions: The findings of this study have important implications for the further development of MOMP, and the design of a rigorous evaluation using a quasi-experimental design in the next phase to determine whether MOMP improves outcomes among foster parents and their foster children.
Translated title of the contributionGennemførbarheden af en intervention for at forbedre den psykisk trivsel og akademiske færdigheder hos børn anbragte i familiepleje
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023
EventEUSARF - England, Brighton
Duration: 12 Sept 202315 Sept 2023


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