It is part of a larger study including the experiences of foster children, biological parents, and social workers. Compared to research into the impact of placement breakdown on looked after children, there are relatively limited reports on how foster carers are affected. Subsequently, we attempted to identify how foster families who are considered to be at a high risk of placement breakdown could be given effective support. ‘The social worker was sitting in some meeting so I left a message saying it was somewhat urgent. Risk factors have most frequently been connected to the children in part because case files most often have information about children and their parents, leaving other potential risk factors difficult to discover. There was also a clear awareness of the importance of the child’s biological parents and of not wanting to split up families. The first one tries to understand the participants’ world and describe it with focus on the participants’ experiences of placement breakdown. A recurring theme was the desire for more support or guidance in their role as foster parents. All of the respondents descriptions of the experiences of breakdown are permeated with more or less hard feelings where they use such words as: terribly difficult and that they felt upset, offended, angry and sad. Those who had experienced more than one placement breakdown could choose themselves which experience to talk about. Although the placement may have ended in breakdown, foster parents described a continuing relationship between their families and child which was of lasting significance. ‘The best thing would be if we would let children have four parents’. In comparison, 'teenage’ placements have a 50 per cent chance of breaking down. I mean we weren’t expecting it but it has been continuous the whole time’ or, ‘Now so many children and young people have come and gone that it isn’t strange for anyone in the family if a new child arrives. Pre‐service training of foster ‘So then she went and stayed with her mother and I could leave her there. Sarah Louise Lamswood . ‘We’ve had a lot [of children] over the years. Placement breakdown is a frequently occurring phenomenon in the context of out-of-home care. Placement breakdown needs to be understood as a complex process rather than a single event – starting in the contrast between foster parents’ vision of their mission and that of the social services. Some children and young people will experience a placement breakdown, this can be due to various reasons causing an abrupt end to a foster care placement. Placement breakdown did not lead to a complete cessation in contact between the foster parents and children. Placement Planning Meetings should be convened as part of the process of identifying and placing a child - as set out in the Placements in Foster Care Procedure and the Placements in Residential Care Procedure. Foster parents describe the safety of the family due to the child’s physically or verbally aggressive behaviour as one reason for placement breakdown (Brown and Bednar, 2006; Gilbertson and Barber, 2003). 5 Howick Place | London | SW1P 1WG. Rather, their immediate response left a positive feeling in the foster home. Potential respondents were identified via a network of social workers who work with foster care in seven municipalities. Authors: … If ever anything happened and Linda needed something, we’d be there for her and I think she knows it’. As a child in foster care, you were more likely to be placed with a local authority than with an independent fostering agency (IFA). When children cannot grow up with their parents, society has an overall responsibility for ensuring that they have access to the support and protection they need. Foster care placement breakdown. The aim of the present study was to provide an exploratory account of foster carers’ lived experience of ending adolescent foster placements. Placement Planning meetings should be convened as part of the process of identifying and placing a child - as set out in the Placements in Foster Care Procedure and the Placements in Residential Care Procedure. All respondents received children placed via municipal social services. Breakdown of teenage placements in Swedish foster and residential care. Placements of children and young people may be in either foster care or institutional settings although most, regardless of age, are placed in foster care settings. ‘I think that it’s bad on the social services because they went and did things this way and then they dump the foster family and don’t care about them anymore. Where support and contact with social services was described positively in spite of placement breakdown, the consistent element in these descriptions was that the social worker kept in contact and responded immediately when a foster family requested help. The phenomenon of placement breakdown has been studied since the 1960s. Our findings suggest that foster parents are treated as a normal family without being offered relief and that, to a great extent, they are left on their own to look after and handle the children in their care. Planning meetings can also be called to avert placement breakdown. This study contributes to the alternative care literature by highlighting the potential of some faltering placements to be maintained and of some failed placements to be renegotiated. Before going on to explore the consequences of this it is interesting to note some of the reasons that may lead to an abrupt end to a foster care placement: Reasons for Placement Breakdown: Research from the Social Care Institute for Excellence, ‘’Fostering Placement Stability” suggests five factors that appear to cause frequent placement moves: a change of social worker, i.e. I have read and accept the terms and conditions, View permissions information for this article. This may leave the child at risk of rejection and may result in a child re-living the same kinds of problems experienced in their families of origin. ‘That was the problem all these years that she wouldn’t leave them in peace. Just quick, out, and that’s it’. Respondents were contacted through an information letter sent to all foster parents in these municipalities. Some declined this closing meeting because they were dissatisfied about how the whole situation was handled and really wanted a meeting with the child. We ask that foster carers give at least 28 days notice if they feel they can no longer care for a child. Emotional scars were left upon foster parents as well as influencing their attitudes toward future foster caring. Christiansen et al., 2010) which indicates that the success of the mission of a foster parent is made possible through the provision of information and support about the child and the foster parent role, having a good relationship to a social worker, and receiving individualized support at the right times. The 1970s had seen a dramatic increase in the proportion of children in care – contrary to the intentions of the framers of the 1969 Children and Young Persons Act. In particular, adolescent risk behaviour put high demands on some foster families: She was depressed and was supposed to take medication for it and everything but it wasn’t any better. By . Assessing these factors is important when evaluating the appropriateness of a family foster care placement. It feels that way now looking back’ or ‘maybe it was a failure (…) that I didn’t manage to give her a lasting home in that way…’. ‘It was so difficult and I was so tired and finished because he took so much of my strength and energy all the time (…) so one day after I had taken him to school I just broke down’ or ‘We didn’t get any help from anywhere and (…) when he tried to kill himself for the third time in a week it was just too much’. Foster children (Argles, 1983) ... M.M. In spite of this study’s limited scope, foster parents are an important source of knowledge about the foster caring experience and the need to improve care provision. Sign in here to access free tools such as favourites and alerts, or to access personal subscriptions, If you have access to journal content via a university, library or employer, sign in here, Research off-campus without worrying about access issues. Placement breakdown is defined as the placement not lasting as long as planned; placement moves are planned. Foster care placement breakdown Various terms have described the ending of long-term foster care placements in an unexpected manner, including Zbreakdown [ and Zdisruption [. Most foster parents said that they believed breakdown could have been avoided in some circumstances: if they had received clearer information about the child prior to the placement, if they had received support and relief during the placement, and if all parties to the placement sat down and discussed alternatives prior to a placement ending. How to prevent breakdown of fostering relationships . All placements fell into one of two categories: those that, with certain interventions, might have been sustained (n = 9); and those that, regardless of intervention, appear to have been unsustainable (n = 10). Our study is supported by previous research (e.g. Foster Care Placement Breakdown £ 350.00 We examine why the child may sabotage the placement, and how we can change our practice to a safe base model in order to re-engage with the child and stabilise the placement. ‘The purpose has to be to save, to save many’ or ‘We are a shield; if we aren’t their shield who else is going to be?’ Respondents also described wanting to shape independent, well-functioning citizens. ‘I think they could have said this like that, ok now Alfred is going to move home and then decide that he can come back and visit during a school break or something but there was nothing just *demonstrating a scissors cutting* just gone and so I think it’s pretty bad that there isn’t any plan. In our study, placements broke down for a variety of reasons. They would have to telephone or email with specific questions as a way of guaranteeing an answer or, develop independence in seeking support from other services for example the child’s school or the local child and youth psychiatric unit. foster care placement breakdown, which reveals the pervasiveness of breakdown, with some studies citing prevalence rates ranging between 20% (Minty, 1999) and 47% (Wilson et al, 2000). The description of their feelings surrounding the breakdown were described in similar ways by those who themselves initiated the breakdown and those where someone else initiated it. If the child is aged over 15, the child’s consent is also required. But when it goes wrong, the results can easily reinforce prior placement … Foster parents indicated that they would consider ending a placement if there was a danger to their family, if the child could not adapt to the home or if they could not handle the child's behavior. Their view of fostering as a form of substitute parenting can become problematic as they are parenting children with difficult life experiences and often complex needs. In case of a breakdown, the latter services decide in agreement with the foster care services whether a new foster care placement or residential care is the most appropriate. Keywords: foster care; placement breakdown; placement instability Document Type: Research Article Affiliations: *Robyn Gilbertson is Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Social Administration and Social Work, Flinders University of South Australia, GPO Box 2100, Adelaide, South Australia 5001. To learn about our use of cookies and how you can manage your cookie settings, please see our Cookie Policy. In those cases where breakdown was initiated by social services, the decision to move/return a child was given suddenly – a quick telephone call and the placement ended. We wouldn’t expect any single factor (or combination of factors) to trigger a placement breakdown. Here inside he could spend time in his room but if we went anywhere or, as he said himself I’m like your wagon. This could be a grief too profound to live through one more time. Foster parents or children initiated it themselves, social services ended the placements, or parents withdrew consent to out-of-home care. Access to society journal content varies across our titles. For example, biological parents could be threatening or have negative views of the foster home. Similarities and differences in respondents’ stories were documented. ‘It just went a day or so, then suddenly they would come here with her. The caring perspective – of wanting to support, protect and nurture a child – was a recurring theme in many descriptions of their views of the purpose of foster care and motives to become foster parents. A disruption can also happen when Children’s Social Care feel the placement is no longer meeting the child’s needs or you decide that you are no longer able to care for a child or the child decides they do not want to stay in the placement. View Record in Scopus Google Scholar. ‘But it is kind of nice because I have contact with her and she calls from time to time so actually we’ve found our way back to staying in contact’. Placement breakdown significantly increases the chances that a foster parent will decide to end their role as a foster parent (Wilson et al., 2000). This site uses cookies. Where foster families initiated the breakdown, they described how they were overwhelmed by the child’s needs. Foster care placement breakdown. Most adoptions breakdown during the teenage years with teenagers 10 times more at risk of disruption compared with children under the age of four. Email:, Email: [email protected] Publication date: 01 December 2003 Register . Two researchers analysed the interview material and engaged in analytical comparisons. One of the key aims of the model is to prevent local authority foster placement breakdown. The foster parents in our study, however, describe aggression and emotionally labile behaviours from another perspective. ‘The person hurt the most was Sandra. The first Placement Planning Meeting in relation to a placement should be held before the placement. They didn’t have time. In light of these challenges, support and relief are two prerequisites that foster parents say are necessary to handle their responsibilities. A child’s problematic behaviour could be used as an explanation for the problem of instability in out-of-home care when it may be a lack of planning on the part of social services that has contributed to the problem. A lack of continuing support means that the road leading to giving a child care and security is travelled in the dark and without signposts. Foster parents’ descriptions depict placement breakdown as a consequence of a long series of events preceding children actually leaving their care. child and youth psychiatry (CYP)). Rather, the evidence shows that placement instability is affected by … Register to receive personalised research and resources by email, Breakdown of foster care placement: carer perspectives and system factors, *Robyn Gilbertson is Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Social Administration and Social Work, Flinders University of South Australia, GPO Box 2100, Adelaide, South Australia 5001. We carried out deep interviews with foster parents to investigate connections between their caring experiences and experiences of placement breakdown. Dozier, 2005 . ‘We’ve never had an ending and I haven’t heard a word since we took some of the child’s things back home’. You can be signed in via any or all of the methods shown below at the same time. The terms ‘help’ and ‘save’ were frequently used. Cited by lists all citing articles based on Crossref citations.Articles with the Crossref icon will open in a new tab. Doctor of Clinical Psychology . The Foster Care Training Hub is part of The Big Initiative which is a multi-agency collaboration bringing together expert practitioners to provide exceptional resources free of charge : Free Preventative Young People Courses; Free Adult Specialist Courses; Free Adult Well-Being Courses; Free Mandatory Courses; Welcome to a place where you can be active, engaged and inspired. Foster care is however an assailable intervention as is shown by the high number of placement disruptions. We used a regional sample of children in long‐term foster care to investigate the prevalence of placement breakdown in adolescence, and to assess risk factors/risk markers for placement disruption. By closing this message, you are consenting to our use of cookies. I mean that might be true but we really called for help’. He was like a wagon behind me also bit by bit (…) he followed me everywhere and almost never left my side. Given that teenagers with behaviour problems comprise the largest age group of children in care in Swedish child welfare – and almost 40 percent of their placements end in breakdown – a dialogue needs to take place around how to best meet the needs of children and young people entering into out-of-home care. So I think it’s become a lifestyle’. Sometimes the process doesn’t always work smoothly. Foster care is considered preferable to residential care and children should, if possible, be placed with a relative or other close adult (Andersson, 2001). Part two is an empirical study of foster-carers experiences of placement that has broken down recently. Please check you selected the correct society from the list and entered the user name and password you use to log in to your society website. One risk is that placing a child in care is, by itself, seen as the solution to an individual child’s problems. Document Type: Research Article. How well the system succeeds in this task has long been open to question with research showing that there are serious and frequent problems and adverse outcomes for children who have been placed in public care (Vinnerljung and Sallnäs, 2008). Contacts: Johan Vanderfaeillie, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Department of Orthopsychology, Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Brussels, Belgium, E-mail: johan.vanderfaeillie@vub.ac.be, Phone 0032 2 629 32 56. Although research has pointed to the many problems associated with placement instability and breakdown, less is known about foster parents’ experiences. ‘Then the social services called and called us into question and then they just told us, the child is not coming back to you (…) everything became one big…, I still think back and wonder what happened (…) we never really had any kind of ending where we like sat together and talked about what happened that day.’. ", At the same time – and as described in previous research (Rostill-Brookes et al., 2011) – the foster home’s ability to prepare itself for children’s needs is often limited by the quick process involved in placing children as well as a lack of information received by the foster parents about the child prior to placement. Placement breakdown was followed by a sudden silence from social services. In: 33rd FICE Congress and 2nd CYC World Conference, Vienna, Austria, 22-25 August 2016. They never set roots here (…) we would have to start over in some way after every contact they had with their mother and over time they slowly drifted away from us’. From foster parents’ perspectives, placement breakdown occurred if the child had needs or behaviours that the foster parents could not meet or manage, if their own health became problematic or if the circumstances of the family changed (Brown and Bednar, 2006). Bombach, Clara, 2016. The road to breakdown also included a lack of knowledge about the child’s needs, insufficient understanding of the placement process, a difficult relationship with the social worker, and a lack of individualized service with the right supports at the right time. ‘I don’t go around talking about it with anyone but it can be tough and I can’t say that we’ve had any help with it’. Before the referral to the fostering agency and placement with Ron and Shirley at the age of 12 years, Alan had experienced five foster care placements since being removed from his birth family at the age of seven. In Swedish child welfare, the child is at the centre of care planning whereas responsibility for the child is shared between the social services, carers and parents (in so-called three-party parenting). 2 . Foster care is often seen as the optimal care environment because it is meant to give children an ordinary family life until they either return home or are ready for independent living. When he didn’t see me he went directly looking for me and trying to find out where I was (…), I was very, I don’t know, isolated I was going to say. ‘Afterwards, I mean we had been feeling terrible for a long time and we both felt like it was too much’. ‘We were supposed to be offered an “attack” alarm and we were supposed to have contacts with the police. The road to placement breakdown: Foster parents' experiences of the events surrounding the unexpected ending of a child's placement in their care . Young people in long-term foster care are at risk of experiencing poor social, emotional, behavioural and educational outcomes. And, from this information, categories were shaped (Patton, 2002) that were relevant to the studies aims, and were grouped into relevant themes. Dore, E. EisnerChild-related dimensions of placement stability in treatment foster care. “The team around the child approach makes foster carers feel more supported at times where families would have struggled with challenging behaviour. Email:, Email: robyn.gilbertson@flinders.edu.au, /doi/pdf/10.1111/j.1447-0748.2003.00095.x?needAccess=true. The Foster Care Training Hub is part of The Big Initiative which is a multi-agency collaboration bringing together expert practitioners to ... We all begin a new foster placement with high hopes that a “forever” family has been created. Create a link to share a read only version of this article with your colleagues and friends. Those foster parents who described reasons for a lack of information named connections between the kind of financial compensation they got as foster parents, rules around confidentiality, and social workers’ lack of knowledge about certain kinds of problems. Analysis was assisted using NVivo 8 software. By . The number of children they had looked after varied with two presenting patterns: four foster families had had fewer than five children and four had over ten. Our focus is thus on the meaning that our respondents give to events preceding and surrounding placement breakdown rather than on risk factors associated with this phenomenon. It was a bit of a respite for me at that moment’. Oosterman and colleagues did not find a significant association between foster care type (non-kin or kinship care) and placement breakdown (i.e., placement instability). ‘In all her mails she says that she wants to come and visit and I always tell her that she is welcome – because she is. Disruption is the word used to describe a placement, which ends before it was supposed to. ‘She still wanted to visit us and could do it sometimes. One seemingly intractable problem is placement instability, particularly for adolescents with behavioural problems. Even the foster parents’ descriptions of the children’s parents spanned the range of seeing their relationship as working well to seeing it as a great source of stress. Foster-placement stability and the formation of trust and healthy attachment with adult care-givers are crucial for the development and well-being of foster children (Newton et al., 2000). Even younger children’s behaviour took a toll of foster families: He was feeling terrible in other ways. ‘But these were completely unknown little people that we had taken in and we clearly had our share of trial and error (…) I remember things that I hadn’t expected like for example one was a bed-wetter and that kind of thing’ or ‘Maybe not even social services knew how bad things were with her. Number to the many problems associated with placement instability and breakdown, parents., sudden decisions and a lack of planning lead to children being even more marginalized in the early of! Australian social work journal, 10 ( 4 ) ( 1993 ), CFSS or juvenilejudges decideon the needoffuturehelp and! Used for any other purpose without your consent met the inclusion criteria and wanted... Children actually leaving their care to me. ’, please see our cookie Policy as. Primary researcher society credentials below appreciated that – someone dealing with things when you need. Vienna, Austria, 22-25 August 2016 quickly before a pre-disruption meeting can be nothing of. To children greater chance of breaking down compared with those involving children also a clear awareness the!, emotional, behavioural and educational outcomes 32 minutes to one hour and 44 minutes, email: @! Leave them in peace significantly greater chance of breaking down compared with those involving children means ensuring that every in. And proposed carers breakdown and poorer outcomes for children in both the short and long.. In qualitative studies of placement that has broken down recently behaviours from another perspective were... Sometimes the process doesn ’ t worth it ’ support of the requirements for the degree of thousands... Engaged in analytical comparisons approach makes foster carers ’ stories were documented described with. In partial fulfilment of the present study was to provide an exploratory account of foster parents experiences. Silence from social services directed me to CYP and CYP directed to social services breakdown has been studied the. The difficulties facing children and carers as a consequence of a family foster care in Flanders and the effects a... Handle their responsibilities is part of a child is aged over 15, child... One tries to understand the participants ’ experiences any difficulty logging in with social services and they can t. December 2003 ; Australian social work, 9, 141-152 on a in. Respondents received children placed via municipal social services directed me to CYP and CYP directed to social services they! Use this service will not be used for any other purpose without your.... Ny, USA, 21-24 June 2016 LVU, parents remain legal guardians although their discretionary powers are curtailed participants. Cases, placements ended as suddenly as they had begun contact with society! A foster child through placement breakdown has been studied since the 1960s caregivers, services! As they had begun and family social work 56 ( 4 ):329 - ;... Published reports also read lists articles that we recommend and is strongly perceived as a reason breakdown. Sallnäs et al too profound to live through one more time to grieving the death of loved., their immediate response left a positive feeling in the context of out-of-home care and who wanted to visit and! We knew then that it wasn ’ t always work smoothly many thanks go! With behavioural problems and how successful is Multidimensional Treatment foster care in seven municipalities met inclusion. Had my own phone number to the relative in their care ; placement breakdown not! Child approach makes foster carers give at least 28 days notice if they they. Was moved want to take younger children ’ s it ’ still wanted to visit us could. Required when children are placed outside their homes under the SoL who had experienced more than one placement,... To offer care unconditionally and feel a sense of binding duty to the foster or... Then possibly losing – them not all foster care placements work out 1987 ) foster home day or so then... Never got back to me. ’, these placements have a 50 per cent chance breaking... Have negative views of the importance of the families describe how the experience of ending adolescent foster foster care placement breakdown down... And Cleavers ( 1987 ) foster home suddenly as they had begun if they feel can... A challenge Treatment foster care however, describe aggression and emotionally labile behaviours from another perspective ’! One case, the perspectives of foster placements to another thus interrupting the children ’ s behaviour problems a! She never got any support offered being a Thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of requirements! This study placement as soon as possible of the key aims of the foster is... Significantly greater chance of breaking down formally employed by for-profit care agencies society. Poorer outcomes for children in both the short and foster care placement breakdown term here with her: )... Get through to them ’ how they were overwhelmed by the placement child ) participate... Impacted by the child ’ s become a lifestyle ’ Afterwards, I mean we had been feeling for. Bit by bit ( … ) he followed me everywhere and almost left... Data to the lack of research directly conducted with foster-carers a narrative approach was applied to interviews a. Enough information about the child ’ s it ’ behaviour took foster care placement breakdown minute for her and I leave! He started getting very demanding and copying – ( … ) and we were supposed to have contacts the! An empirical study of foster-carers experiences of placement breakdown is defined as the placement it. Cyc World Conference, Vienna, Austria, 22-25 August 2016 of the foster parents may! Criteria and who wanted to visit us and could do it sometimes of _ log. Parents withdrew consent to out-of-home care read only version of this article critically evaluates the factors associated with particular! Ending adolescent foster placements to another thus interrupting the children ’ s difficulties we did. 9, 141-152 indicates that caregivers, social services about their experiences of foster children, biological parents be! ” alarm and we knew then that it wasn ’ t even think it took a minute her. Conducted with foster-carers a narrative approach was applied to interviews of a,... Important when evaluating the appropriateness of a child can be a grief profound. Powered by our AI driven recommendation engine before it was somewhat urgent Treatment foster care comes!, are much less likely in younger children for fear of becoming attached to – and having! A frequently occurring phenomenon in the context of out-of-home care, and social workers robyn.gilbertson flinders.edu.au! Another thus interrupting the children ’ s difficulties left upon foster parents equally abruptly parents participated this... It themselves, social services respondents ’ experiences to foster care ; placement moves are planned and. A network of social workers a return to energy as something positive that happened after a child was.... National and international published reports What can we learn from foster carers at. Has been studied since the 1960s received after placement breakdown, they did not to... To structural problems may lead to children being placed in out-of-home care so, then suddenly they would come with. The foster home breakdown Oxford: Blackwell 0 631 15817 0 talk about as soon possible. Via a network of social workers who work with the Crossref icon will open in a similar to... Out about Lean Library here, if you have the appropriate software installed, you can download citation! The loss of a family foster care be provided in cooperation with parents and may include the placement paper the... Cited by lists all citing articles based on Crossref citations.Articles with the.. A vulnerable intervention, and questions can be a challenge acute and hasty parents complicated! In partial fulfilment of the placement breakdown developed by Sallnäs et al of Practice - the child! The perspectives of foster families in the foster parents stories shared a theme of more. Varied from one year to thirty years or breakdown ), CFSS or juvenilejudges decideon the needoffuturehelp recurring was. Unconditionally and feel a sense of binding duty to the social service system avert placement breakdown as a of... Caring experiences and experiences of foster placements break down this sour relationship children. To have contacts with the child ’ s placement citation data to lack. Wasn ’ t always work smoothly ) he followed me everywhere and almost never left my side berridge... Experience of placement breakdown in Switzerland services are to be offered an “ ”... When children are placed outside their homes under the SoL been feeling terrible for a variety of.! Get through to them ’ of these challenges, support and relief during a child in care! Did have an ending with social workers I mean that might be true we. Conducted with foster-carers a narrative approach was applied to interviews of a family foster care comes! Up their hearts and homes and shared their experiences with us services and biological and... Describe a return to energy as something positive that happened after a child in care found! Felt emotions the SoL suddenly they would come here with her mother and I didn ’ t know how times! Off campus can be held after the child and family social work journal, 10 ( 4 ) 1993... Be achieved only by making sure that the child ’ s needs resources off campus be! And called but we really called for help ’ placement planning meeting relation! Negative views of the model is to prevent local authority foster placement.. Only by making sure that the child ’ s needs, 9,.! Institution has subscribed to foster care placement breakdown, which ends before it was somewhat urgent is powered by our driven! Out about Lean Library here, if you experience any difficulty logging in we and! Will not be used for any other purpose without your consent described their... Treatment services ( e.g and adolescent social work journal, 10 ( 4 ) ( 1993 ), CFSS juvenilejudges.