Historical Analysis and Contemporary Assessment of Foster Care in Texas: Perceptions of Social Workers in a Private, Non-Profit Foster Care Agency




McCutcheon, James

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This study first examines the historical policy context of foster care programs in the United States and Texas. Secondly, the paper explores the reasons children enter foster care and the ways the foster care system addresses these reasons from the perspective of social workers working in a private, non profit foster care agency. Using interviews from thirteen social workers who work with children, their families, and the foster care system, this research explores the causes of foster care placement. This research features one overarching working hypothesis, with five working sub-hypotheses. Group and individual interviews tested all hypotheses. The vast majority of interviewees agreed that child abuse and neglect is a leading cause of children entering the foster care system. Most of the interviewees supported the idea that substance abuse by parents also contributed to foster care placement. Causes such as the mental and physical illness of parents or children occur less often. Useful suggestions for improvements, such as more training for social workers and foster parents, were also discussed.


An Applied Research Project Submitted to the Department of Political Science, Texas State University-San Marcos, in Partial Fulfillment for the Requirements for the Degree of Masters of Public Administration, Spring 2010.


Casey, foster care, social workers, orphan trains, orphanage, Child Protective Service, Texas, Public Administration


McCutcheon, J. (2010). Historical analysis and contemporary assessment of foster care in Texas: Perceptions of social workers in a private, non-profit foster care agency. Masters of Public Administration, Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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