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Title: Short-term fostering of infants : foster carers' experiences
Author: Pyman, Michelle.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3503 206X
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2007
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This qualitative study is an exploratory investigation of the experiences of thirtyfive female foster carers who foster infants short-term. In-depth interviews were conducted, transcribed and analysed in order to gain an understanding of the way foster carers manage this specific fostering task. The primary focus of the interviews was carers' motivations to foster infants, their role perceptions, the relationships they have with the infants and their experiences of placement endings. Carers' approaches to coping along with their ideas about what can be helpful to them at these times were also explored. A grounded theory approach towards the data analysis was used. The key messages from the data about carers' experiences were drawn together to form a model of short-term fostering of infants. The data suggests that along with the task of mothering, foster carers face a number of additional tasks when caring for foster infants. Some carers find it easier to manage these additional issues than others. A model of fostering infants short-term was developed which suggested that outcomes can be understood in terms of the carers' ability to manage and balance these additional tasks that fostering presents. The analysis is developed further by identifying the processes involved in whether this balance is achieved or not. Fostering infants is a personal task as infants require mothering, and yet it is conducted within a public and professional arena. This study concludes that fostering infants is a complex and challenging task. Managing and balancing the professional and personal demands of the fostering task is central to a successful, satisfying fostering experience for the foster carer. This thesis argues that the findings presented provide material that could inform areas of social work practice such as the way in which placements are planned. The findings also highlight the importance of providing appropriate support to ensure that foster carers are able to offer these vulnerable infants a secure base and manage their formal role in the child's life, whilst also maintaining a sense of personal satisfaction from fostering.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available