Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Social Work


Social Work

Committee Chair

Elena Delavega

Committee Member

Minhae Cho

Committee Member

Laura Taylor


Abstract Highlights: Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) affect 63.9% of the U.S. population, slated to cause detrimental impact on physical health, mental health, and social outcomes to include parenting behaviors; however, a thorough assessment of its impact on foster parents is minimal. Foster parents are subject to ACEs, which in turn, may impact foster care placement outcomes. Objectives: To examine the prevalence of ACEs among foster parents in Alabama and the relationship between ACEs, foster parent characteristics, and some foster care placement outcomes such as length of placement and number of placements per foster parent. Participants included 52 licensed foster parents who reside in Alabama, United States. Methods: Univariate and bivariate statistical analyses, including ANOVA, Independent samples t-test, and Pearson correlation models, were conducted to investigate the relationship between the demographic characteristics of foster parents, ACEs, and number and length of foster care placements. Results: The study showed that 60% of the sample population reported encountering one or more ACEs, while 23.1% reported encountering 4 or more ACEs, an indication of important trauma levels. The study concluded that there is an association between the number of placements which a foster parent has had over their service and the number of ACEs foster parents have experienced, but no other variables were significant. Conclusions: These findings may suggest that an increase in foster care placements may be seen when ACEs are present among people serving as foster parents, which has potentially important implications for the wounded healer phenomenon, suggesting that foster parents who have experienced trauma have a greater desire to help children in difficult situations. Though ACEs are prevalent among the foster parent population and may have a connection with foster care placements, there appears to be a need to look at additional factors that can contribute to foster parents’ skills and abilities. There is an indication for the necessity of effective foster parent training and support to enhance trauma awareness and its effect on work with children in foster care and with strengthening resiliency attributes in foster parents. Key Words: Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), foster parents, foster care, trauma


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest.


Open Access