Conceptualizing effective foster parent mentor programs: A participatory planning process

J. Jay Miller, Kalea Benner, Natalie Pope, Tamikia Dumas, Larry J. Damron, Melissa Segress, Melissa Slone, Shawndaya Thrasher, Chunling Niu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Mentor programs have been recognized as an integral tool in the child welfare services array. However, there are few conceptual frameworks for planning and developing mentor programs for a key constituency group: foster parents. This study employed Concept Mapping (CM) with a convenience sample of 59 foster parents in one southeastern state. CM is a participatory, mixed-method research approach that utilizes non-metric multidimensional scaling and hierarchical cluster analyses to analyze qualitative data. As a result, pictorial representations of the data are generated. Results yielded seven (7) distinct clusters: Ongoing Supports, Matching Practices, and Program Evaluation, among others. Participants viewed the Recruitment cluster as most pertinent and most important for mentor programs. Contrariwise, Program Evaluation and Matching clusters were viewed as least feasible and least important, respectively. After a review of pertinent literature, this paper explicates CM methodology as applied to the current study, reports results, and discusses lessons learned as they apply to child welfare research and practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-418
Number of pages8
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd


  • Concept Mapping
  • Foster parents
  • Mentorship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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