Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Ph.D. Doctor of Philosophy

Academic Discipline

Community Psychology

First Advisor

Tiffeny Jimenez

Second Advisor

Bradley Olsen

Third Advisor

Judah Viola


In 2023, the United States child welfare system suffers from disorganization, role ambiguity, and deficient transparency. With 12 contempt of court strikes for the system’s Director in 2022, it is clear why child welfare actors are unable to successfully perform. Foster parents, a key stakeholder in the proper care of children, report being unable to successfully perform because they are raising children with significant needs and trauma while having to locate and navigate child welfare system laws, policies, and procedures on their own. The purpose of this research project was to 1 ) identify whether foster parents know who is accountable for their foster child’s mental and physical health, legal case, medical care, and finances, 2) identify if foster parents know how to directly contact this party, 3) identify additional knowledge foster parents need about the system or their foster child, 4) connect with the Illinois foster parent community encouraging participant empowerment and self-efficacy, 5) work as a community identifying oppressive constructs that hinder information-sharing between the Illinois foster care system and foster parents, and 6) construct and implement a sustainable information-sharing, crowd-sourced platform for foster parents and other child welfare professionals to access information. The data for this project was collected using a quantitative and qualitative survey and 2 focus group sessions. The findings show that foster parents need additional information about the foster care system and their foster child, specifically medical information, indicating that a platform for foster parents, case workers, and other child welfare stakeholders, is critical.