Foster carers and family contact: foster carers' views of social work support

Austerberry, Helen, Stanley, Nicky orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7644-1625, Larkins, Cath orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-2999-6916, Ridley, Julie orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-0879-308X, Farrelly, Nicola orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-9006-335X, Manthorpe, Jill and Hussein, Shereen (2013) Foster carers and family contact: foster carers' views of social work support. Adoption & Fostering, 37 (2). pp. 116-129. ISSN 0308-5759

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Foster carers have an important role to play in maximising the quality of any contact between children and their parents and monitoring its effects on the child. This article explores how a sample of foster carers view family contact and the professional support they receive concerning their role in this activity. It draws on a large-scale survey (N = 1405) of English foster carers conducted in 2011 as part of the Social Work Practices evaluation. Data provided by those carers who had had difficulties relating to contact (N = 405) were further analysed thematically. Foster carers with disabilities and those experiencing difficulties in contact arrangements were less satisfied with support from the child’s social worker than other foster carers. Foster carers valued social workers who considered the interests of all parties affected by contact plans and decisions. The practice implications of the findings are discussed.

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