Journal Article

Unravelling Emotional, Behavioural and Educational Outcomes in a Longitudinal Study of Children in Foster-Care

Elizabeth Fernandez

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 38, issue 7, pages 1283-1301
Published in print October 2008 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online April 2007 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcm028
Unravelling Emotional, Behavioural and Educational Outcomes in a Longitudinal Study of Children in Foster-Care

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The experience of out-of-home care has the potential to impact on children’s psycho-social outcomes in significant ways. This article highlights the interactive contribution of carers, teachers and children to the fostering experience. The paper reports on a strand of a longitudinal study of children in long-term foster-care. Using a mixed-methods, repeated-measures, multi-informant approach, it focuses on emotional, behavioural and educational outcomes. Children in the study were assessed by carers and teachers for competencies and problem behaviours using the Achenbach Child Behaviour Checklist and its companion, the Teacher Report Form. The results suggest high prevalence rates of Externalizing and Internalizing problems with demonstrated gains in terms of improved scores and adaptive functioning at subsequent assessments as they progressed in placements. While drawing attention to the adversities reflected in the children’s experience, the findings go some way in demonstrating the positive outcomes of care. One striking finding is the similarity between care children and controls in later assessments. Discussion of results and implications for practice centre on the need for a co-ordinated strategy for improved recognition and integrated responses to children’s psychological and educational needs that draw on resilience oriented interventions and target interrelated systems of service delivery. The findings have broad implications for practitioners concerned with psycho-social outcomes for children in care, and for researchers interested in integrating multiple perspectives in longitudinal research.

Keywords: foster-care; outcomes; education; mental health

Journal Article.  7554 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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