She was a foster mother who said she didn’t give cuddles’: The adverse early foster care experiences of children who later struggled with adoptive family life

Sarah J Meakings, Julie Selwyn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

2 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Foster care remains a valuable and safe intervention for many children unable to live with their birth family. When birth family reunification is not considered possible, a small proportion of children in foster care will go on to achieve permanency by way of adoption. This article reports on some unexpected findings to emerge from two national adoption studies of previously looked after children in England and Wales. Focussing on a subset of families who had experienced, or who were at risk of an adoption disruption, the findings revealed that children not only carried elevated risks for disruption due to their older age at entry to care, multiple foster care placements and traumatic early histories, but once in care, many of the children whose placements had disrupted were considered by their adoptive parents to have had very poor, even harmful fostering experiences before being placed for adoption. Possible explanations for these findings are discussed, together with the implications for social work practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509–519
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
Volume21
Issue number4
Early online date2 Mar 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016

Keywords

  • Adoption
  • foster care
  • maltreatment
  • disruption
  • attachment
  • transition

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