Journal Article

The Limits of Support in Foster Care


in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 27, issue 6, pages 913-930
Published in print December 1997 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online December 1997 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
The Limits of Support in Foster Care

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This study was designed to explore the support provided for foster carers during crises. A sample of sixty-seven foster carers who had experienced an allegation of abuse against a member of their immediate family were questioned, with a specific focus on their support needs and experiences during the period of investigation and its aftermath. Data were also gathered from a smaller sample of twenty family placement social workers who worked with a sub-sample of these foster carers in order to establish their perceptions of the issues. Shock, anger, bitterness and a sense of isolation were the prevailing emotions experienced by foster carers. It was found that the formal support offered by the child-care agencies was not used by 76 per cent of foster carers. For most carers there was a lack of congruence between the type of support they needed and the support provided by the child-care agency. A number of other useful findings emerged which are discussed in relation to crises in foster care.

The implications for foster care practice are substantial and relate to the optimum provision of support for foster carers in such crises. It is suggested that the key role of social workers is to encourage and enable foster carers to establish their own close network of personal support in anticipation of such events.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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