Date of Graduation

Summer 2023


Master of Science in Early Childhood and Family Development


Early Childhood and Family Development

Committee Chair

Elizabeth King


The foster care field continues to have a high turnover rate of the professionals working in the field. While support and work balance are available for some professionals, many face the challenges of heavy workloads, unrealistic expectations, and health sacrifices that lead to many professionals leaving the field. This case study of one former foster care professional’s description of reasons they worked in the field, and reasons they ultimately left the field provides insight of the challenges and support as a foster care professional. The findings of this study are organized into three major themes including “Challenges for Foster Care Professionals and Reasons for Leaving the Field,” “Supports for Foster Care Professionals and Reasons for Staying in the Field,” and “Changes and Actions Needed to Promote Retention and Returning for Foster Care Professionals.” Each major theme has three to five subthemes with thirteen between them. These subthemes include: No Additional Funds and Contracts, Workload, Unrealistic Expectations, Poor Work-Family Balance, Personal Health Sacrifices Due to Work Demands, More Positive Experience Working for Private Agency Versus State Agency, Coworkers and Supervisor Support, Job Flexibility, Adequate Workload and Pay, Communication Among All Relevant and Responsible Parties/Groups, Improve Efficiency, Facilitation, and Flexibility, Additional Education and Awareness for All Parties, and Structural Changes Are Needed. The study provides policymakers, practitioners, and foster care personnel the framework for the actions needed to retain and recruit foster care professionals.


turnover rates in foster care field, former foster care professionals, burnout, foster care, foster care professionals, foster care retainment, foster care turnover, foster care support, workloads, leaving foster care field

Subject Categories

Benefits and Compensation | Contracts | Human Resources Management | Labor and Employment Law | Legal Writing and Research | Organization Development | Organizations Law | Other Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Performance Management | Policy Design, Analysis, and Evaluation | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Social Work | State and Local Government Law | Training and Development | Vocational Education | Work, Economy and Organizations | Workers' Compensation Law


© Lauren Williams

Open Access