Methods: We analyzed the changes in 138 participants’ test scores using a paired-sample t-tests. Participants took self-assessments before the training, immediately after the training, and 90 days after the training. These assessments measured both competencies and characteristics related to effective resource parenting. We measured changes in competency scores at pretest, at an immediate posttest, and at posttest conducted 90 days after training.
Results: Significant improvements were demonstrated between the pretest and the immediate posttest for nine of the 17 characteristics. Although participants reported higher scores for many of the characteristics, an example of a characteristic with statistically significant results includes the characteristic of “committed”. For this characteristic, there was a significant increase from the pretest (M=4.62, SD=1.06) to the posttest conducted 90 days later (M=4.95, SD=1.16); t (137) = -2.97, p<.01. Significant improvements were also found between the pretest and the posttest conducted 90 days later for eight of the ten competencies. An example includes the competency “knowledge of gender and sexual identity”. For this competency, scores significantly increased from the pretest (M=4.06, SD=1.46) to the posttest conducted 90 days later (M=4.66, SD=1.49); t (137) = -3.90, p<.001.
Conclusion and Implications: Teenagers in foster care experience higher rates of placement disruption than any other age group; this results in an over-representative of teens being placed in congregate care settings. A need exists to recruit and retain foster and adoptive parents who are both willing and capable to provide permanent and stable homes for older youth placed in out of home care. The CORE Teen training program aims to equip resource parents with both the characteristics and competencies needed to support foster teens in their care. The improvements in participants’ scores are promising. Not only did participants’ see improvements in their scores for the majority of the characteristics and competencies measured, but those improvements were still present three months later. Policymakers should also consider how targeted trainings could reduce placement disruptions for other types of foster children who experience higher rates of placement disruption such as foster children with special needs.