Finding the common ground: families, relationships, and child-focused practice in foster care

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Lotty, Maria
Lynch, Sean
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Irish Association of Social Workers
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For children, their parents, and their foster carers, the challenge in maintaining relationships, managing interactions, and varying loyalties can bring a wide range of complex and intense emotions. This often-overlooked emotional complexity within the foster care system lies at the heart of challenges that may arise. This paper explores this complex and uniquely fostering situation of supporting a child in being part of two families. We firstly examine the literature in relation to this issue and then explore the perspectives of the foster carers, multidisciplinary practitioners and the views of parents drawing from recent Irish research. In examining the differing sides of a complex situation for children in foster care, we then explore how we can find some common ground and how to support practices that help children to integrate and make sense of these varying relationships in the interests of their development and wellbeing.
Foster care , Relationship-based practice , Trauma informed , Collaborative practice , Care , Parents of children in care
Lotty, M. and Lynch, S. (2021) 'Finding the common ground: families, relationships, and child-focused practice in foster care', Irish Social Worker, pp. 128-146.
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© 2021, the Author. Published by the Irish Association of Social Workers.