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Title: Foster carers' experiences of multi-professional working
Author: Jewitt, Natalie Anne
ISNI:       0000 0004 5356 1864
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2014
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Introduction: This thesis explores foster carers’ experiences of multi-professional working. Despite previous research exploring multi-professional working from a range of different perspectives, an in-depth exploration of foster carers’ experiences has not been reported. As Looked After Children (LAC) are likely to have poorer outcomes across mental health and education, it is crucial that multi-professional working around LAC is effective to ensure their needs are met across all areas. With 75% of children in care being placed in foster placements a better understanding of the foster carers’ experiences of working within a multi-professional team is vital to improve our understanding of multi-professional working around children in care. Method: Nine foster carers were interviewed using a semi-structured interview method to obtain an in-depth qualitative account of their experiences of multi-professional working. The qualitative data was then transcribed and analysed thematically. Results: Three main themes were derived from the data: complexity of the foster carers’ role; importance of the foster carers’ relationship with social workers; and multi-professional team functioning. The findings showed that foster carers wanted to be included in multi-professional working. Their involvement was crucial as they were identified as the link between the LAC and the multi-professional team. Combining their roles as a parental figure within the family environment, and a professional foster carer within a multi-professional team, brought about an array of challenges, but when this combination was understood, managed and supported it was beneficial for both the multi-professional team and child in care. Foster carers’ relationships with social workers were found to be influential in determining foster carers’ experiences of fostering and multi-professional working. Discussion: The findings highlighted that multi-professional team’s need: clear leadership; clarity around purpose of team / meeting; a clear understanding of each member of the team’s roles and responsibilities; a consistent approach to information sharing; information to be shared with foster carers prior to placement; and more flexibility around communication methods. These findings are discussed in relation to previous research and implications reported. Recommendations for both practice and future research are then outlined.
Supervisor: Cottrell, D. ; Ahmed, S. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available