Hess, Robyn S.

Committee Member

Athanasiou, Michelle S.

Committee Member

Weingartner, Angela

Committee Member

Peterson, Eric




University of Northern Colorado

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Greeley (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created



254 pages

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Born digital


The goal of this qualitative multicase study was to obtain a better understanding of resiliency in placement stable foster children through interviews with significant supportive adults. Case studies were centered on six foster children associated with a child welfare agency in a Rocky Mountain region. Children ranged in age from 5 to 15 years old and lived in foster-to-adopt placements. Information was gathered from the foster parent(s) and the social worker of each child, with a total of 7 foster parents and 4 social workers interviewed. Both within-case and cross-case analyses were conducted using a phenomenological approach to identify common themes and patterns of resilience, protective factors, and how system interactions contributed or acted as barriers to a successful placement. The main characteristics of resilience in stable placement foster children included the reduction of problematic behaviors, an increase in positive and prosocial behaviors, and the development of relationships with others. Specifically, the relationship between the foster child and the foster parent appeared to influence the child’s expression of resiliency as they provided the protective factors of a consistent and supportive home environment and a consistent dedication of care with the end goal of adoption. The supportive adults in the study helped to strengthen protective factors and provide a nurturing environment to reduce the effects of stress and adverse experiences of these children in foster care. Therefore, resilient adults or resilient systems may influence the development of resiliency in the foster children with which they interact.

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