Guidelines for Screening Prospective Foster Parents: A Scoping Literature Review




foster care, prospective foster parents, screening of foster parents, social worker


The process of screening prospective foster parents is a requirement before a child in need of care and protection is placed in foster care. This is to ensure that the prospective foster parents fit the criteria for fostering children. The aim of this scoping review was to review current literature on guidelines for the screening of prospective foster parents. The six steps of Arksey and O’Malley’s framework was used. A total of 13 databases were searched, resulting in the retrieval of 75 studies, 11 of which met the inclusion criteria: English, full text, peer reviewed, open access studies conducted between 2017 and 2021 on guidelines for screening prospective foster parents. The data were analysed thematically. This study revealed six key components that are included in the screening of prospective foster parents, namely, personal factors relating to values and beliefs, social networks, interpersonal communication, personality characteristics, prospective foster parent–foster child relationship and the child’s background information. We deduce that the screening process is complex and time-consuming and that there is a need to develop a standardised screening process for screening prospective foster parents in South Africa. This study is confined to the screening of prospective foster parents by the government and child protection organisations in South Africa. None of the studies reviewed included the views of foster children. In this study, we recommend further scoping review research to include children’s views on the screening of prospective foster parents.


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How to Cite

Manthosi, Frans Lesetja, and Shernaaz Carelse. 2022. “Guidelines for Screening Prospective Foster Parents: A Scoping Literature Review”. Southern African Journal of Social Work and Social Development 34:19 pages.
Received 2021-11-05
Accepted 2022-10-25
Published 2022-12-22