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Behavior with a Purpose

By Rick Delaney, Ph.D. and Charley Joyce, LICSW
Second Edition

“Behavior with a Purpose” provides the reader with a practical understanding and clinically relevant interventions to common problems of youth cared for in adoptive, foster and kinship families. Specific attention is placed on food hoarding, behavioral wetting, defiance, lying, stealing and cruelty to animals. The book also explains how the positive intentions of foster parents can work at cross purposes with the desires of a foster youth. Numerous case examples are used in order to illustrate the dynamics of the identified problem areas. The book firmly endorses the healing power of the family and is written from a trauma-informed, strength-based perspective.

“Being a therapeutic foster parent has helped me realize the amount of support and resources necessary to do this (sometimes) difficult and rewarding work. ‘Behavior with a Purpose’ offers practical and hands-on strategies that I can use with all my children!”


Tami De Coteau, Ph.D., LP Foster Parent and Clinical Psychologist


“This book is one of the most valuable I’ve read in over 40 years of working professionally with kids and families. The authors explain how kids’ difficult behaviors make sense in light of their past experiences. Examples provided in the book help us understand the reason behind the often-problematic behaviors demonstrated by kids who are in out-of-home placement.


The book is well-organized, readable, usable and spells out practical, therapeutic strategies to implement in response to the often baffling, frustrating things kids do. This enhanced understanding will help decrease power struggles and minimize the tendency for parents to personalize behaviors. I highly recommend this book for all adoptive, foster and kinship parents as well as for those who live and work in any capacity with kids of all ages.” 

Chris Martin, LICSW, foster and adoptive parent, Previous director of AASK, Adults Adopting Special Kids