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Title: Placement endings in long term foster care : the effects on carers and their ideas for the future
Author: Powell, Melanie
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2005
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This study explored long term foster carers' experiences of placement endings and their accounts of the psychological and emotional impact of these events. The study also focussed on both the approaches carers adopted to cope at these times and the resources which they found helpful or otherwise. Carers' perceptions of responses from family, community members and Social Care Services were explored as well. The research was intended to help recognise the needs of foster carers and advocate their views. In depth interviews were conducted with ten long term foster carers who had experienced a placement ending. A grounded theory approach towards the data analysis was chosen to develop a model of the ending process for carers. The analysis suggested that carers' experiences of placement endings were influenced by the decision process, the reasons for the placement breakdown and the carers' perceptions of their role. The actual ending event provided the context of the carers' responses. While for some stories of relief emerged, the predominant responses involved feelings of loss, responsibility, self criticism and helplessness. The findings suggested that foster carers experienced placement endings as a process which involved both shorter and longer term reactions. Inherent in the process were the coping strategies employed which enabled the letting go of the relationship with the foster child and facilitated carers in continuing their role, their future approaches to fostering and future decision making. The factors which seemed to impede this process included lack of recognition from others and barriers to the carers' expressions of feelings. The results also generated ideas for future practice. The findings are discussed in relation to the literature. Theoretical understandings of stress, trauma and loss are considered with a particular emphasis on the salient factors associated with the role of the foster carer. The clinical implications of the study are also discussed. In particular, recommendations are made for supporting carers through placement endings with suggestions for psychological support. Service recommendations are also presented with an emphasis on team working, recognition of practitioners' feelings and new concepts of support.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available