Practices to improve communication between birth parents and permanent families

Collings, Susan, Neil, Elsbeth ORCID: and Conley Wright, Amy (2018) Practices to improve communication between birth parents and permanent families. Advances in Social Work & Welfare Education, 20 (2). pp. 144-150. ISSN 1329-0584

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Background: Support to maintain important family relationships is seen as a right for children in permanent care in Australia. In New South Wales, newly legislated permanency principles prioritise open adoption over long-term foster care and require plans for ongoing, face-to-face (known as direct) birth family contact for children in permanent placements. Countries with similar child welfare systems do not place the same emphasis on contact after permanent removal and it is especially uncommon to see direct contact given priority in open adoption. The problem: There is mixed evidence on the benefits of contact for children in permanent care. The quality of the relationship between birth relatives and caregivers is critical to the success of contact. Casework support is key to promoting understanding and communication between children’s birth parents and permanent carers or adoptive parents. The emerging permanency model in New South Wales does not yet have an evidence base and most caseworkers lack the skills to help these families build a constructive relationship in the interests of ongoing contact for children. The solution: Casework practices developed for use in child welfare placements elsewhere may be successfully applied to New South Wales to help build the practical skills needed to facilitate openness, empathy and respectful interactions. These practices need to be tested and refined to build an evidence base on what works to support ongoing direct contact for children who are permanently removed from parental care.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: open adoption,contact,out-of-home care,permanency,social sciences(all) ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3300
Faculty \ School: 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 (former - to 2023)
Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Centres > Centre for Research on Children and Families
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2018 10:30
Last Modified: 26 Jul 2023 09:43


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