Thesis Title

Family Art Therapy: A Therapeutic Approach to Aid in the Adjustment of Foster Child Placement

Graduation Date

Fall 1995

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy

Degree Granting Institution

Notre Dame de Namur University

Program Name

Art Therapy


Nepenthean Foster Family Agency is a private, nonprofit Foster family Agency, licensed by the state of California that helps responsible adults become successful foster parents for an ever increasing number of children who roust live with families other than their biological one. Defined as a "Treatment Agency", Nepenthean provides therapeutic services to children who reside in certified foster family home. To determine on an individual level the appropriate case plan, social work staff assess the child(ren)'s needs, which may include, but are not limited to, education and mental health services, sexual and/or physical abuse counseling, alcohol and/or drug abuse counseling, and vocational Gaining. Children delivered to Nepenthean by county agencies range ln a9re from birth to 19 years, and are often the victims of abandonment, child abuse and/or severe neglect. The goals of the staff are to clearly understand a prospective foster family's background, interest, hobbies and skills as they match foster Parent to foster child seeking to unite families, building compatible relationships. Nepenthean responds personally to each child and their foster parent, using training, respite care, support and assistance with the educational needs of the child, bilingual services, sign language services, social and recreational events and a monthly newsletter. Nepenthean is staffed with experienced Social Workers, Counselors, and Psychologists who help support the network of certified foster families.

The purpose of this grant is treat abuse, neglect, grief and loss, as well as aid the placed child towards making a successful adjustment into the foster family. Part of the assumption underlying this research is that adjustment can he difficult when a child is moved from a harsh and painful environment and thrust into a new family. Part of the assumption underlying this research is that adjustment can be difficult when a child is moved from a harsh an painful environment and thrust into a “new” family.

Art Therapy, a non-traditional therapeutic assessment and treatment modality, will offer a unique opportunity for expression and growth. This grant proposes to fund family art therapy groups which will meet weekly for nine weeks. The focus will be to meet and comply with court ordered therapy, provide mental health services, and using art therapy, aid in the adjustment within the foster family home.