Foster Father Identity: A Theoretical Framework

Journal Name
Journal of family Theory and Review
Year Published
Author (Individual)
Mallette, J., Richardson, E. & Futris, T.
Resource Type
Journal Article
Resource Format
Resource Language

Foster fathers, who care for and have a unique opportunity to positively influence the at‐risk children who are placed in their home, may struggle to establish a salient foster father identity due to a lack of societal clarity about their role and conflicting views about their importance within the child welfare system. However, we lack theoretical and empirical knowledge on foster fathering. Thus, a nuanced conceptual understanding of the factors and processes that influence the development of foster father identity, which influences the health and involvement of the father–child relationship, would provide insight into supporting foster fathers in establishing healthy, involved relationships with foster children. In this article, we summarize the existing literature on fatherhood and father identity in general; introduce a theoretical framework describing the unique role, identity, and experiences of foster fathers in the United States; and propose recommendations and implications for future research.

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