A silent children's rights movement : an exploration of resilience in former foster children
[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT REQUEST OF AUTHOR.] Foster care is becoming a more prevalent diverse family form and serves a critical role in our society. Researchers, policymakers, and practitioners need to know more about how communication facilitates resilient behaviors in former foster youth. Guided by the Theory of Resilience and Relational Load (TRRL) (Afifi, Merrill, & Davis, 2016), the current study utilized structural equation modeling to illuminate the role of communication in cultivating resilience for children who have entered the foster care system. Survey results revealed former foster children (N = 120) developed communal orientation through continuous relational maintenance behaviors with their foster parents. Former foster children also felt safer in the foster family when they had been in the home for an extended period of time. Results also showcased how trauma effects relationship development within the foster family unit. Children who have adverse childhood experiences need communication strategies to help foster resilience. To that end, I provided theoretical contributions and extension, specifically an expansion of TRRL to include a trauma lens as well as a greater understanding of how foster children and foster parents used their relationship to foster resilience. I also offer future directions for studying resilience as it relates to the current literature and Public Policy with suggestions for practical implications and an agenda for future research.
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