Foster Care as a Viable Alternative to Institutional Care in the Middle East: Community Acceptance and Stigma Across Type of Placement in Jordan.
Mackenzie MJ, Brewer KB, Schwalbe CS, Gearing RE, Ibrahim RW, Batayneh J, Darwish DM, Al-Kharabsheh J, Al-Zuʼbi MH.
J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2012 May 29. [Epub ahead of print]
From the * School of Social Work, Columbia University, New York, NY; †Columbia University Middle East Research Center, Amman, Jordan.
Utilizing an experimental vignette design, this study assessed attitudes in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan toward the implementation of foster care as an alternative to institutions for children in need of care and protection.
A sample of 111 adults were surveyed in Amman and presented with a vignette describing a 14-year-old boy who came into the care of the Ministry of Social Development when he was a baby after being placed by the grandfather because of shame surrounding the mother being unwed. The vignettes systematically varied as to whether the child was described as raised in an orphanage, with a relative in a kinship foster placement, or with a nonkin foster family. Participants were then asked a series of questions about their acceptance of the child, stigma that the community might attach to the child, and potential outcomes for the child.
We found no differences across the acceptance and stigma questions between the kinship and nonkin foster conditions. The 2 foster care options were at least as acceptable as current institutional models across all domains, and participants were more likely to accept the child going to school with or being friends with their child if they were in foster care rather than an institution.
These results represent the first evidence of public acceptance of foster care as a model of care in Jordan and may inform the process of local stakeholders implementing alternatives to institutional care on a meaningful and sustainable scale in the Kingdom and regionally.