Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

Kristen D. Seay

Abstract

Racial-ethnic identity is an essential component of a Black child’s development. Little is known about how transracial foster parents support Black foster children’s racial-ethnic identity development. The purpose of this dissertation was to address this gap by: (1) exploring transracial foster parents’ racial socialization practices as it relates to the care of Black foster children, (2) understanding transracial foster parents’ experiences with addressing racism and racial bias directed towards Black foster children, and (3) exploring transracial foster parents’ knowledge as it relates to the cultural needs of Black foster children. Using a thematic analytic approach, a sample of 8 White foster parents (1 male and 7 females) who transracially foster Black children were interviewed.

The results of this exploratory qualitative study indicated that similar to biological parents of Black children, transracial foster parents engage in cultural socialization, egalitarianism, preparation for bias, and promotion of mistrust behaviors and messages. Transracial foster parents identified protection and previous experiences with witnessing or being the perpetrators of racism or racial bias as reasons for engagement in racial socialization. Transracial foster parents discussed five themes in regard to the sources of racism and racial bias towards Black foster children: individual racism, systemic racism, institutional racism, prejudice, and discrimination. Transracial foster parents also talked about how they address racism and racial bias toward their Black foster children through providing emotional support, empowering their Black foster children to confront systemic racism, removing their Black foster children from harmful environments, advocacy, as well as expressing their pride in fostering Black children. In relation to transracial foster parents’ seeking education on their Black foster children’s cultural needs, the data revealed several themes related to mandatory and voluntary transracial foster parent trainings; formal training through work or school; seeking advice from Black friends, neighbors, and professionals; and using the internet as a resource. Participants’ perceptions on their level of competence with addressing their Black foster children’s cultural needs varied from low to high competence levels. Participants also talked about the need for further transracial foster parenting trainings on racism, addressing personal racial biases, and incorporating the lived experiences of Black children in foster care. There were several similarities and variances between the perspectives of White foster parents interviewed. Future research implications, as well as recommendations for policy and practice, are discussed.

Available for download on Thursday, May 15, 2025

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