Disconnection and dislocation: relationships and belonging in unstable foster and institutional care
2015 (English)In: British Journal of Social Work, ISSN 0045-3102, E-ISSN 1468-263X, Vol. 45, no 6, 1888-1904 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
This paper investigates how children who have experienced instability in substitute family care describe their sense of belonging and relationships with adults who share responsibility for caring for them. Using an interpretive phenomenological methodology, we interviewed twelve children in Swedish foster and institutional care. Our study found that the children craved a close relationship with consistent adults and an opportunity to feel that they belonged somewhere. These needs were difficult for them to receive due to their parents' problematic life histories, instability in care which repeatedly placed them in new care situations and a lack of continuity of social workers. These children endured a repeated disconnection to those adults who were supposed to share the role of raising them and, at the same time, an incredible ability to adapt to new care environments was demanded of them. After continually losing relationships, some children finally decided to ‘hold off adults’ in order to not get hurt. Working with and caring for children who have experienced unstable care puts great demand on adults to develop relationships that children feel will be consistent and that they can trust.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 45, no 6, 1888-1904 p.
Children's voices, foster-care, instability, institutional care, placement breakdown
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-68306DOI: 10.1093/bjsw/bcu033ISI: 000361828300015OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-68306DiVA: diva2:616309