We study the link between couple, co-parenting, and parenting practices to inform services that enhance the quality and stability of care for Georgia's foster youth.

While foster parenting can be very rewarding, there are many unique challenges and stressors that foster parent couples experience following the placement of a child in their home that may jeopardize placement quality and stability. Our research examines the factors and processes influencing foster parents' couple and coparenting relationship. For example:

  • We are exploring the link between couple and coparenting relationship quality and the parenting experiences of foster parents.
  • We conducted a needs assessment with DFCS County Directors in 2015 which reinforced the need and value of relationship enrichment training to support foster parents across Georgia. Read the full report.
  • We are working in collaboration with various state and local partners to launch relationship enrichment trainings for foster parents using the new ELEVATE couples education curriculum. The first pilot was funded by DFCS and was completed Spring 2016; read the full report.
  • We are currently evaluating the impact of weekend intensitve retreats with foster caregiver couples as a part of our federally funded initiative, Project F.R.E.E.

Funding Sources

  • Georgia Department of Human Resources (2016)
  • U.S., Dept of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (2015-2020)

Recent Publications

  • Mallette, J., Futris, T.G., & Schramm, D. (2018). Fostering a culture of family-centered care: Child welfare professionals’ beliefs about fathers, family instability, and the value of relationship education. Child and Family Social Work, 23 (3), 354-363. https://doi.org/10.1111/cfs.12422

  • Richardson, E.W. Futris, T., Mallette, J., Campbell, A. (2018). Foster mothers’ parenting stress and coparenting quality: An examination of the moderating role of support. Children and Youth Services Review, 89, 77-82. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2018.04.024

  • Richardson, R. W., Futris, T. G., Duncan, J. C., & Mallette, J. K. (2018). Meeting the couple and coparenting relationship needs of foster caregivers: A needs assessment of child welfare county directors in Georgia. Journal of Extension [On-line], 56 (1). Available at https://www.joe.org/joe/2018february/rb6.php