Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

MA in Child Development


Child Development Graduate Program


The number of children in foster care is growing at an alarming rate, and finding families who are willing and able to care for these traumatized children is not an easy task. Children land in foster care due to extreme traumatizing circumstances in the homes of their biological parents. It is therefore not surprising that these children have a higher incidence of psychological problems than their peers living with their biological parents. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an umbrella term under which trauma-based cognitive therapy (TF-CBT) falls. Both CBT and TF-CBT show excellent results in treating children with serious psychological trauma, such as posttraumatic stress disorder, sexual abuse, and the like. The CBT/TF-CBT approach does not involve a lengthy therapy period (6–12 sessions) and achieves results equal to or better than conventional psychotherapy. One drawback of this therapy in the foster care situation is that it necessitates parental support during the treatment of children. In fact, the sessions are equally divided between the parent and child. As foster parents usually have complicated situations of more than one foster child, visitations of biological families, dealing with their biological children, and their own work situation—they therefore seldom provide full cooperation in the therapy situation. This may lead to diminished results in CBT/TF-CBT with children in foster care. Specifically, I use two examples of children in foster care who received CBT at the agency where I work to illustrate the typical parental support and to explore the impact of the lack of parental support on the success rate of CBT in these children. It is essential to provide a highly successful psychotherapeutic approach to this vulnerable group of children, and CBT/TF-CBT should be adapted such that its high success rate can be duplicated in children in foster care.