Creating Compassionate Foster Care – Foster Care Book Review


From the Cover of Creating Compassionate Foster Care: Lessons of Hope from Children and Families in Crisis by Janet C. Mann, and Dr. Molly Kretchmar-Hendricks:

“Inspired by over 20 years of work with families in the child protection system, Janet Mann, an experienced foster parent, and Molly Kretchmar-Hendricks, a professor of developmental psychology, have written this book to tell the stories of some of the children and families they have served. Janet, with her husband Paul, developed an innovative approach to foster care – The Children’s Ark – which afforded birth parents the opportunity to reside, under supervision, with their children during evaluation and treatment. Drawing on this experience, along with current attachment research and theory, the authors share a relationship-based approach from which to reimagine foster care in ways that are child-centered and both more compassionate and more effective. Through their stories, they draw valuable lessons to help foster carers and professionals better respond to the complex needs of children and families in crisis.”



Transfiguring Adoption awarded this book 4 Hoots out of 5 based on how useful it will be for a foster/adoptive family. [Learn more about our Hoot grading system here]

Our Thoughts:

Janet C. Mann and Dr. Molly Kretchmar-Hendricks have done a wonderful job giving different stories (basically case overviews) and linking or better yet tying them together with current attachment research and theory. With Mann’s 20 plus years of experience in the fostering community and all of her incredible stories added together with Dr. Kretchmar-Hendricks vast knowledge of developmental psychology, the reader gets a wonderful array of thought processes and knowledge on each story written. The reader can build on prior knowledge of foster care and adoption, attachment and bonding info or be a first time reader of such topics and still feel like they truly know what the authors are talking about. The stories in this book are a good picture of different complex situations you may experience or come into contact with while fostering or working with the foster care community. The uniqueness of the their approach to foster care, The Children’s Ark, is not only interesting but commendable. This approach helps set the stage for whole family healing. One of my favorite take aways from the book is from Mann, “If you really want to help a child, you must help the family.”

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It’s Your Turn:

  1. What insights did you gain from this book?
  2. What are some tangible ways you can show compassion towards the birth parents?
  3. Will you make any changes as a result of this book?


What do you think?

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