A study of home environments of specialized foster care families for mentally retarded children

Valerie Louise Dripchak, Fordham University


The topic for this dissertation was to study the relationship between the home environment of specialized foster families of mentally retarded children, and the length of time the children were able to remain in placement with the same foster parents. Long term foster care placement in a nurturing home, while maintaining involvement with the biological families, seemed to be the most appropriate option for many mentally retarded children and their families. There was little research done, to date, on specialized foster families who provided care for mentally retarded children. This factor may be largely due to the recent trends toward deinstitutionalization. In this study, a sample of 114 specialized foster families showed that there was a correlation between the home environment of the foster family, and the length of time that the foster child was in placement. However, a more significant correlation in this study was observed between some specialized foster families' non-normative scores, that is scores that were similar to distressed families' scores, on the Moos' Family Environment Scale. The study provided a comparison of the variables between two groups of specialized foster families: families who requested the removal of the foster child, and families who did not request the foster child's removal. The variables that provided some differentiation between the groups were the frequency of case management visits, use of agency services, previous experience in providing home care to mentally retarded children, and prior place of residence of the foster children. Implications to the social work profession were also discussed.

Subject Area

Social work

Recommended Citation

Dripchak, Valerie Louise, "A study of home environments of specialized foster care families for mentally retarded children" (1989). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9015948.