Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




An extensive review of the literature on foster parent effectiveness yielded only one study (Horner and Ray, 1990) specifically focusing on "treatment" foster parents. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between moral and ego development and treatment foster parent effectiveness and attitudes. The Defining Issues Test, Washington University Sentence Completion Test, and Adult-Adolescent Parenting Inventory were administered to 103 treatment foster parents and the Treatment Foster Parent Effectiveness Scale was completed for each of the foster parents by their primary caseworker. The design was descriptive utilizing correlational comparisons between each of the variables. Additionally, the variables were considered in combination with demographic variables: gender, age, race, marital status, education, and foster parenting experience.;Treatment foster parents who exhibited higher levels of moral reasoning were more likely to display more appropriate and nurturing parenting attitudes. The ability to empathize was found to be positively related to treatment foster parents' overall effectiveness as well as their level of ego and moral development. The results also suggest that treatment foster parents may have more nurturing and appropriate attitudes than "regular" foster parents. Treatment foster mothers also displayed more appropriate and nurturing attitudes than treatment foster fathers. The findings from this study coupled with previous research linking higher cognitive developmental stage with more effective teaching, parenting, and counseling skills substantiate a rationale for applying a cognitive developmental framework for screening, training, supervising, and developing treatment foster parents.



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