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Title: Security and permanence in longterm foster care : family relationships and professional systems
Author: Beek, Mary
ISNI:       0000 0004 5367 3321
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2014
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This is a submission for the degree of PhD by Publication. The submission presents five linked research studies concerned with long-term foster care, and their associated publications. There is a three-part commentary on the research and publications. Part 1 of the commentary reviews the literature relevant to the research and publications. Firstly, the policy background to the studies is outlined. Then, the literature concerned with the family processes and outcomes of long-term foster care is considered. Placement stability and developmental outcomes are included, and also the risk and protective factors that contribute to these processes and outcomes. Literature concerning foster and birth family membership is then highlighted, and also that which addresses the professionalisation of foster care, and the implications of this for long-term foster care. This is followed by a summary of some relevant attachment based research and, finally, there is reference to the literature concerning professional systems associated with longterm foster care in England and Wales. Part 2 of the commentary provides an outline of each of the research studies undertaken and summarises their aims, methods, findings and methodological issues. The studies spanned a period of fifteen years, between 1997 and 2011. They explored the experiences and meanings of building a family life within the context of foster care systems in England and Wales. These two closely interwoven discourses - the relationships that are formed in long-term foster families and the professional systems that surround them - were of central importance in the body of work and form the core of this submission. Part 3 of the commentary covers the contribution that the research and publications have made to knowledge in the field of long-term foster care. Firstly, from the exploration of family processes in long-term foster care, key aspects of caregiving that appear to create a sense of security and permanence for long-term foster children are identified. These are: secure base caregiving, bonding and commitment, flexible role identities and managing the child’s dual family membership. Each of these aspects of caregiving, as illuminated by the research and publications, is explored in turn. Secondly, there is a summary of the contribution that the body of work has made to identifying iii the extent of regulation and the nature of practice that is required to safeguard longterm foster children, whilst at the same time promoting their sense of security and permanence in their foster families. The commentary concludes with an overview of the implications of the research and publications for social work practice and some suggestions for further research. At Appendix A is a statement from Professor Gillian Schofield, lead investigator of one of the studies, co-investigator of two of the studies, and lead author of ten of the publications. Appendix B contains a collection of the published works (articles and a book chapter) that represent the studies. The books and a research report are presented separately.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available