The significance of a secure base: a psychosocial model of long-term foster care

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Long-term foster care has been a much neglected area of social work practice and research. Yet there are obvious challenges that need to be understood when building a family for life in foster care. Is it possible for foster families, where there are no biological or legal ties between carers and children, to provide care, concern and family membership not only through childhood but also into adult life? The study on which this paper is based set out to explore that question by investigating the experiences of 40 adults, aged 18–30, who grew up in foster families. Qualitative interviews were conducted, transcribed and analysed. Theoretical frameworks from attachment and resilience were brought together with concepts such as ‘belonging’ and ‘family membership’ to make sense of the narratives provided. An integrated and dynamic psychosocial model of long-term foster care was developed, which emphasizes the significance of a secure base and has some important implications for practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-272
Number of pages14
JournalChild and Family Social Work
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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