Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Family Consumer Human Development

Committee Chair(s)

Jay D. Schvaneveldt


Jay D. Schvaneveldt


C. Jay Skidmore


Bruce Byland


The three main objectives in this study were: (1) to describe the foster mother's expressed reasons for taking a placement student, (2) to describe the problems and stresses associated with being an Indian placement foster mother, and (3) to describe the satisfactions and benefits of being a foster mother on the Indian Placement Program.

The sample for this study consisted of 44 foster mothers in Cache and Box Elder Counties who had had the same placement student for three or more consecutive years. The instrument utilized was a semi-structured interview with the foster mother.

Expressed reasons

The majority of mothers expressed religious or Church-oriented reasons for becoming a foster mother to an Indian Placement Student. The responses in this category varied considerably and in many instances

a foster mother's reasons for taking a student were multiple. In addition to the foster mothers initial reasons for taking a student, the mother's initial depth of desire to take a placement student seems to be an important factor in her willingness to work through the more difficult periods of adjustment.

Problems and stresses

A pronounced 68 percent of the foster mothers indicated their first year of placement experience to be the most frustrating.

The four most mentioned areas of difficulty in working with a student were "school work," "communication," "sulkiness," "and sense of appreciation" respectively. The findings showed that significant progress was made in minimizing the seriousness of "school work, "communication," and "personal hygeine."

Fifty percent of the foster mothers in this study said they had seriously considered termination at one time or another . A majority of foster mothers mentioned a particular caseworker as the person most helpful during their times of stress. Not counting the five foster mothers whose students were graduating and therefore would not be returning, only two mothers were actually planning to terminate placement participation. However, the findings suggest that a sizable number of foster mothers would not be willing to take another student if for some reason their present student did not return.

Satisfactions and benefits

The satisfactions of being a foster mother centered on the enjoyment of seeing the student grow and develop. The students 1 personality and emotional development were the areas most frequently mentioned. Conversely, the benefits of being a foster mother were of a spiritual nature and centered on the personal growth of the foster family in associating and working with the placement student. The results suggest that a great majority of foster mothers have come to a positive assessment of their placement experience.