Helping Infants and Toddlers in foster family care


Background: The relationship between foster children and their foster carers comes with many risks and may be very stressful both for parents and children. We developed an intervention (Foster Family Intervention, FFI) to tackle these risks. The intervention focuses on foster children below age 5.  

Objectives: To investigate the effects of the FFI on the interactions between foster parents and foster children.

Methods: A randomized controlled trial was carried out with a sample of 123 preschool aged children (mean age 18,8 months, 51% boys) and their foster carers. A pre-test was carried out 6-8 weeks after placement, and a post-test half a year later. Interactions were videotaped and coded using the Emotional Availability Scales. Foster carers were asked to fill in the Dutch version of the Parenting Stress Index. Morning and evening samples of children’s salivary cortisol were taken.

Results: In the post-test, significantly positive effects were found on EAS subscales Sensitivity, Structuring, Non-Intrusiveness and Responsiveness. We found no significant differences on stress levels of foster carers and children (NOSI domains, salivary cortisol).

Conclusions: This study shows that the FFI has a significant positive effect on parenting skills as measured with EAS and on Responsiveness of the foster child. Findings are discussed in terms of impact and significance relating to methodology and design of the study and to clinical relevance.





1e Promotor: prof. dr. H. Grietens, sociale wetenschappen, Universiteit Groningen

2e Promotor: prof. dr. E.J. Knorth, sociale wetenschappen, Universiteit Groningen

Copromotor: prof. dr. R.J. van der Gaag, Universiteit Radboud, Nijmegen

Copromotor: dr. L. Nauta, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Titel engels:
About the evidence base of the FFI: fostercarer fosterchild intervention
In kader van:
Duur van het onderzoek:
juli 2009 tot december 2015
Hans van Andel