Organization: Maddie's Fund
Investigator(s): Anastasia Shabelansky
Grant Amount: n/a
Project Type: Basic Research
Project Status: Research Complete
Maddie's Fund® conducted an online survey to gain national baseline data regarding the utilization, structure and policies of cat and dog foster care programs. Foster programs appear to be fairly common practice in US shelter and rescues. However, most foster programs are relatively small with a small number of pets in foster care and a small number of active foster caregivers. The survey discovered a correlation between practices of a foster-centric shelter and having more foster caregivers. The majority of organizations who responded to this survey loved the foster-centric model of animal care, although there was considerably less interest in implementing it.
To explore the use, structure and policies of cat and dog foster care programs in U.S. based animal shelters and rescues; and to collect feedback about the foster-centric model of animal sheltering.
The survey was distributed to a convenience sample, via Maddie's Fund® email list, Adopt-a-Pet newsletter and Best Friends network partners. One representative was allowed per organization. After duplicate responses were removed, 2,159 organizations responded to the survey. The survey was designed to gather information from as many shelter and rescue organizations as possible, regardless of having a foster program or physical shelter.
The following results were based on data from organizations with a physical facility (n=959):
The majority of foster programs placed a relatively small number of pets in foster care and had a relatively small number of active foster caregivers. The vast majority of respondents love the foster-centric model; however, there's considerably less interest in actually implementing the model at their respective organizations. Based on the data, foster programs exist at most organizations, and have foster programs in times of higher intake, but few see it as a core component of their organizational culture. Future research should focus on how to help shelters to utilize their resources efficiently to place as much animals to foster care as possible.