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. Document Type: Research Article. Careful matching between the child and the foster family is the first step in achieving stability. When a foster care placement comes to an end (reunification or breakdown), CFSS or juvenilejudges decideon the needoffuturehelp. Breakdown was described as creating a large sore and discomfort as well as feelings that the foster parent was about to ‘break apart or go mad’. ‘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’. Some foster families were so-called specialized foster homes and were formally employed by for-profit care agencies. Foster children with behavioural problems, older foster children, foster children denied treatment, and foster children in care because of sexual abuse were more at risk of breakdown. The initial placement of a child was often acute and hasty. ‘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. Services are to be provided in cooperation with parents and may include the placement of a child in out-of-home care. Several families described how a child is always welcome to visit them and that one child requested to remain in contact after a breakdown. Include them in the child’s care review in order for all to understand why the placement ended and to determine if and how contact may continue between the child and the foster home. One seemingly intractable problem is placement instability, particularly for adolescents with behavioural problems. Reasons for Placement Breakdown: Many thanks also go to the foster parents in this study who opened up their hearts and homes and shared their experiences with us. However, interviews with foster parents have shown that it is not just the child’s behaviour that is an important consideration but rather it is in combination with ‘system failures’ – including a lack of pertinent information about the child prior to placement and a lack of supports to foster families when they asked for help – that placements, which otherwise could be saved, end up in unnecessary breakdown (Gilbertson and Barber, 2003). 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. Processes leading to foster care placement breakdown in Switzerland. You can be signed in via any or all of the methods shown below at the same time. The foster parents in our study, however, describe aggression and emotionally labile behaviours from another perspective. Placement breakdown is experienced negatively and is strongly perceived as a failure leaving long-lasting and strongly felt emotions. Pre‐service training of foster 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. 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). 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. Regardless of these different starting points, our respondents described wanting to care for a child, to do a good deed and, most importantly, to offer a family. To learn about our use of cookies and how you can manage your cookie settings, please see our Cookie Policy. This need for support was connected to a desire that a child be referred to additional treatment services (e.g. These negative emotions connected to breakdown were not just described as feelings held by the foster parents but something shared by relatives, biological children and other placed children. The child’s biological parents and contact between the child and parents was described by some as an asset and by others as a strain. Contact us if you experience any difficulty logging in. in the University of Hull . Most adoptions breakdown during the teenage years with teenagers 10 times more at risk of disruption compared with children under the age of four. Terms that refer to these unplanned terminations of foster care placements are: breakdown, disruption, frequent moves or – in general – placement instability (e.g., Rock et al., 2015). And it was a bitter ending. In the text following, we report on this path to placement breakdown beginning with a description and analysis of foster parents’ motivations and then an explication of their mission, the child’s arrival and everyday life in the foster home and ending with foster parents’ depictions of the breakdown and of conditions afterwards. Email:, Email: robyn.gilbertson@flinders.edu.au, /doi/pdf/10.1111/j.1447-0748.2003.00095.x?needAccess=true. It could also be described as a relief. Given the poor outcomes associated with placement breakdown, research has focused on identifying risk factors associated with breakdown (Rostill-Brookes et al., 2011) and studies have, to a large extent been based on the examination of social work case files (Egelund et al., 2010; Unrau, 2007). The first one tries to understand the participants’ world and describe it with focus on the participants’ experiences of placement breakdown. In comparison, 'teenage’ placements have a 50 per cent chance of breaking down. We carried out deep interviews with foster parents to investigate connections between their caring experiences and experiences of placement breakdown. To address this knowledge gap, we designed this study to investigate how Swedish foster parents described and understood placement breakdown and the care context in which it occurred. 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. I mean, you’ve taken on the responsibility [to be foster parents] and they could at least be in touch’. Placement breakdown is a frequently occurring phenomenon in the context of out-of-home care. 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. Disruption is the word used to describe a placement, which ends before it was supposed to. Arrival was often marked by its acute nature, sudden decisions and a lack of information. For them, it is not the behaviour as such but rather the social services care planning (or lack thereof) and insufficient support and relief that lead to placement instability for children with behaviour problems. Placement breakdown is a frequently occurring phenomenon in the context of out-of-home care. Doctor of Clinical Psychology . Proceedings of ‏The 5th International Conference on New Findings On Humanities and Social Sciences. Foster-care, foster placements, looked after children, placement breakdown, placement stability, substitute care Introduction The experiences of children who are looked after by social services place them at greatly increased risk for a range of negative outcomes. This could be a grief too profound to live through one more time. Contact between foster parents and their previous foster children took place without the planning or support of the social services. We ask that foster carers give at least 28 days notice if they feel they can no longer care for a child. Members of _ can log in with their society credentials below. And, they did not want to take younger children for fear of becoming attached to – and then possibly losing – them. 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. High demands are placed on foster parents’ ability to provide care and offer a loving home to children who have been raised in difficult environments and who have behaviour problems. Sarah Louise Lamswood . In another case, the child was described as being passed back and forth between social services and CYP which led to neither the child nor the foster parents getting the supports they wanted. The stress that can come with being a foster parent, for example coping with hyperactivity in a child, difficulties in their relations with the biological parents, and problems in contact with social workers can lead to an increased feeling of stress and thus increase the risk of placement breakdown (Farmer et al., 2005). Brierley agrees: “Financially, when you consider a children’s home placement costs about £125,000 a year, and a foster placement is about £25,000, this is a very cost-effective solution. Berridge and Cleavers (1987: 6) definition was adopted within the review. I really missed that and think we should have seen each other afterwards.’ They felt their need for support was not acknowledged or provided by social services. Create a link to share a read only version of this article with your colleagues and friends. Foster parents also described how the environment in the foster children’s home of origin and their own behaviour problems often and significantly affected their own family’s everyday life. While the overall numbers of children in care have varied over the years, the use of care placements have been a stable part of the child welfare system since its foundation. It is part of a larger study including the experiences of foster children, biological parents, and social workers. 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). Three foster parents described their hurt feelings and connected them to the failure of their mission. ‘She still wanted to visit us and could do it sometimes. Our approach is based on our interpretation of placement breakdown as an experience immediately and directly connected to the context of caring in which it occurs. Our study is supported by previous research (e.g. Our results are supported by Hyde and Kammerer’s (2009) study where children in care experienced changes in placement because of behaviour problems connected to difficult life situations prior to coming into care and foster parents’ uncertainty around how to manage their behaviour. But when it goes wrong, the results can easily reinforce prior placement … Where foster families initiated the breakdown, they described how they were overwhelmed by the child’s needs. Foster placement breakdown: What can we learn from foster carers’ stories and how successful is Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care . Here inside he could spend time in his room but if we went anywhere or, as he said himself I’m like your wagon. In addition to these quick placements, foster parents describe the problem of not having enough information about the child’s difficulties. Its frequency, risk factors or causes and consequences to children being in... 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