Understanding and Working with Parents of Children in Long-Term Foster Care
For children growing up in foster care, the role of their birth parents is an important factor in the success of their long-term placements. Understanding the experiences of parents is therefore essential in order to develop effective social work practice with parents that can also ensure the best possible outcomes for children. Drawing on detailed and often moving interviews with parents, the book takes a chronological approach, starting with their accounts of family life before their children were taken into care, in particular the impact of drugs, alcohol and domestic violence. It goes on to explore their experiences of court and then how they seek to come to terms with their loss, sustain an identity as a parent and manage a relationship with their children through contact. Parents' views on what they find valuable and helpful in relationships with foster carers and social workers are also discussed. The book then draws on the views of social workers on the opportunities and challenges of supporting parents, while also remaining child-focussed. The authors set out a model of good practice, based on the lessons learnt from the experiences of these parents and social workers. This book will be essential reading for all child and family social workers, fostering social workers, independent reviewing officers, academics and foster carers.
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