Thinking about and managing contact in permanent placements: the differences and similarities between adoptive parents and foster carers

Neil, Elsbeth ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5655-7498, Beek, Mary and Schofield, Gillian (2003) Thinking about and managing contact in permanent placements: the differences and similarities between adoptive parents and foster carers. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 8 (3). pp. 401-418. ISSN 1461-7021

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Abstract

Children permanently separated from their birth families have to manage life-long issues of attachment, identity and loss. This article focuses on the issue of post- placement contact and discusses the qualities of foster carers and adopters that can best help children negotiate such issues when contact occurs. Two linked research studies provide data on young adopted children, and children in middle childhood placed in long-term foster care. Almost all foster children were found to be having frequent face-to-face contact, compared with only a small minority of adopted children. However, face-to-face contact was found to be more straightforward in the adoptive families, largely because such young children had less complex relationships with their birth relatives and easier relationships with their new parents. Adopters were centrally involved in contact meetings and able to act autonomously, whereas the experience of foster carers was much more varied, with some feeling excluded from decision-making. In both placement types, sensitive and empathic thinking and accepting values of foster carers and adopters were vital in helping children use contact meetings to make sense of their membership of two families. When such parental attributes were present, a wide range of contact arrangements could be successful.

Item Type: Article
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Social Work and Psychology (former - to 2012)
Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Social Work
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Research Centres > Business and Local Government Data Research Centre
Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Centres > Centre for Research on Children and Families
Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Child Protection & Family Support
Depositing User: Katherine Humphries
Date Deposited: 23 Dec 2010 09:28
Last Modified: 09 Aug 2023 13:30
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/18573
DOI: 10.1177/1359104503008003009

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