Different Perspectives of the Foster Care System

I recently conducted a survey looking at the different perspectives of the foster care system. I was blown away by how drastically different the perspectives were.

Authors of Systems Thinking Made Simple: New Hope for Solving Wicked Problems Derek and Laura Cabrera provide us a great way to look at perspectives. They inform us that different perspectives result from changing the Point, the View, or Both. By understanding multiple perspectives, we can change our perspectives. Let’s examine how the Cabreras use perspectives:

Using the Cabrera’s phenomenal system on kingfisher.link, I was able to capture the results of my survey and demonstrate the vastly different perspectives. Let’s take a look.

Perceptions of the Foster Care System – Survey

“Sometimes perspectives are so basic and so unconscious to us, we are unaware of them but they are always aware of us.” – Derek and Laura Cabrera

So far, I have collected 243 responses to my survey on the perceptions of the foster care system. The survey is still active – feel free to complete it here.

The survey consisted of the following 10 questions:

1. Who are you? There were multiple options (only one could be selected – this is where I was able to identify each stakeholder).

2. From your perspective, what do you feel the role and mission of the foster care system should be?

3. From your perspective, do you feel as though the foster care system is working? Please explain why or why not.

4. From your perspective, what are the strengths of the foster care system?

5. From your perspective, what are the major challenges in the foster care system?

6. From your perspective, what misconceptions do people have about the foster care system?

7. If you had a magic wand and were in charge of the foster care system, what would you do?

8. From your perspective, what changes and/or improvements would you make in the foster care system (both short-term and long-term)?

9. What approaches from other systems and/or fields would (or might) work in foster care?

10. In its current state, is the foster care system working? (definition of working = does it do what is in the best interest of the child?)

The following stakeholders responded to the survey (the survey was/is anonymous):

I chose four specific stakeholders and wanted to find out how they perceive four different points of view within foster care: the role of foster care, challenges within foster care, misconceptions in foster care, and improvement ideas in foster care.

Let’s take a look at the different perspectives.

Different Perspectives: Role of Foster Care

perspectives of the foster care system 2

Key insights:

Different Perspectives: Challenges in Foster Care

perspectives of the foster care system 3

Key insights:

Different Perspectives: Misconceptions in Foster Care

The perspectives here provide an idea of the misconceptions in foster care (from the point – individual – and the view – foster care system). A misconception is a view that is incorrect because it is based on faulty thinking.

perspectives of the foster care system 4

Key insights:

Different Perspectives: Improvement Ideas in Foster Care

perspectives of the foster care system 5

The Cabreras inform us that a perspective can also be a lens through which we look at some other idea and that lens can be a thing, an event, a person, a place, and even an idea. With questions 7, 8, and 9 in my survey, I sought to uncover ideas for improvement in the foster care system from specific perspectives.

Key insights:

Perspectives: All Stakeholders

Let’s now take a look at the different perspectives from all the stakeholders.

perspectives of the foster care system 6

perspectives of the foster care system 8

Intriguing Remarks!

Lastly, let’s take a look at some perspectives in the survey that were intriguing and some that were completely crazy!

Intriguing/helpful perspectives:

Less helpful perspectives (please note that these are NOT the ideas of the author!):