Penn State sociology professor coauthors new book on foster care
An examination of the foster care system and its effects on children is the focus on a new book authored by Sarah Font, assistant professor of sociology at Penn State, and Elizabeth Gershoff, professor of human development and family studies at the University of Texas at Austin
The book, “Foster Care and Best Interests of the Child,” provides an in-depth examination of the history and goals of the foster care system, how and why it fails to adequately meet children’s needs, and what it would take to actualize meaningful improvements in children’s experiences and outcomes.
“We challenge prevailing criticisms of foster care and illustrate how efforts to increase conformity and accountability in state foster care systems may undermine, rather than promote child well-being,” said Font, who is also a cofunded faculty member of the Social Science Research Institute.
The authors suggest the child’s best interests should be explicitly defined to include physical and psychological safety, stability, and the opportunity for healthy development, and that evaluation of children’s best interests by trained professionals should inform all key decisions that affect children in foster care.
The final chapter of the volume provides a blueprint for realizing the potential of foster care as a safe and effective intervention for children experiencing abuse and neglect.
The book was published recently by Springer Publishing as part of their Springer Advances in Child and Family Policy and Practice.