NUMBER 627• 4 NOVEMBER • FOSTER CARE
Placement in foster care is typically an emotionally upsetting event for children and youths, even when their family situation is unstable, unhealthy, or rejecting. Processes such as the following have been found to he instrumental in helping children to adapt to the challenges of family foster care (Pecora & Maluccio, 2000)
Helping young persons to share their feelings of confusion and rejection, in order to understand the nature of their placement in foster care and to minimize denial, fantasy, and repression of their pain and suffering.
Continuing at least some connection with their prior environment, particularly their birth parents or other close family members.
Promoting, as appropriate, knowledge of — and identification with — the birth parents, so as to aid in the child’s efforts to adjust.
Providing information about the reasons for placement and the meaning of being in foster care. Children who know the composition of their birth family, their age when they left home, and where their parents live are able to adjust and fare better in foster care.
Coordinating roles and activities among birth parents, foster parents, social workers, and other service providers, so as to facilitate cooperation and effective use of services. This is crucial, as children and youths in foster care typically require multiple services to meet medical, educational, and psychological needs.
Planning ongoing visits with birth parents, siblings and other relatives, especially early in the placement.
Focusing on preparation for independent living in situations of youths who cannot return to their families of origin or be placed with other families (see also the paper of Mann-Feder & White in this issue). For these young people, it is essential to provide early in the placement opportunities to develop life skills necessary for successful transition to independent living and emancipation as young adults.
MALUCCIO, A. N.
Maluccio, A. N. Processes and outcomes in family foster care: A selective North-American review. International Journal of Child & Family Welfare Vol. 6 No. 4 December 2003.
Pecora, P. J. & Maluccio, A. N. (2000) What works in family foster care. In M. P. Kluger, G. Alexander, & P. Curtis (Eds.), What works in child welfare (pp. 139-152). Washington, DC: CWLA Press.