Interventions in Foster Family Care: A Systematic Review

Martin Bergström, Marianne Cederblad, Kickan Håkansson, Ann Kristine Jonsson, Christian Munthe, Bo Vinnerljung, Ingegerd Wirtberg, Pernilla Östlund, Knut Sundell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Foster family care is associated with adverse short- and long-term consequences for the child. A systematic review was conducted on interventions for foster children and foster careers. Method: A comprehensive search process was used to find eligible interventions evaluated in randomized controlled trials or quasi-experimental studies. The quality of studies was assessed with GRADE, and effects were synthesized using meta-analytic methods. Results: In all, 28 publications of 18 interventions, including 5,357 children, were identified. Only three specific interventions had sufficient confidence of evidence. No study had examined tools for foster parent selection nor had evaluated preservice programs related to outcomes. Discussion: These analyses provide new insights and hope into the field of systematic interventions in foster care. The overall results indicate that it is possible to improve eight outcomes but cannot point out which programs are superior. Ethically, social care organizations should systematically collect knowledge about effects and side effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-18
Number of pages16
JournalResearch on Social Work Practice
Issue number1
Early online date2019 Feb 28
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jan

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Social Work

Free keywords

  • adolescents
  • children
  • ethics
  • field of practice
  • foster care
  • foster parent selection
  • literature review
  • population
  • preservice training
  • prevention
  • systematic review


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