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Title: The support needs of foster carers who look after young people with emotional and behavioural difficulties
Author: Hillyer, Rachael
ISNI:       0000 0004 2739 1910
Awarding Body: University of Wolverhampton
Current Institution: University of Wolverhampton
Date of Award: 2012
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The poor outcomes of young people leaving foster care are well documented and demand a focus on placement permanency and interventions that encourage stability (Rubin et al, 2007). The need for better support for foster carers is widely acknowledged (Warman, Pallet & Scott, 2006; Morgan & Baron, 2011). To provide effective support an understanding of foster carers support needs is required. A qualitative approach explored the support needs of foster carers who look after young people perceived to have emotional and behavioural difficulties. Semi- structured interviews were undertaken with 17 foster carers employed by a local authority or an Independent Fostering Agency. A grounded theory methodology within a social constructionist framework was used to develop a new theoretical understanding from the data. A central storyline of ‘keeping your head above water’ emerged and appeared to encapsulate daily struggles and ways of managing. Categories which contributed to this were ‘becoming isolated’ from other professionals, ‘role ambiguity’ regarding the multiple meanings attached to being a foster carer, ‘making sense of emotional and behavioural difficulties’ highlighting a need to understand the children cared for, ‘a focus on behaviours’ illuminating approaches to parenting and ‘unmet emotional needs’ which is a possible consequence of focussing on children’s behaviours. The emergent theory may hold potential for developing psychological formulations, interventions and training programmes for foster carers. Suggestions for future support are put forward based on the new theoretical framework. Applications of the findings to Counselling Psychology are discussed in detail.
Supervisor: Owens, Moira; Hardy, Alexandra Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Couns.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Foster carers ; attachment theory ; emotional and behavioural difficulties ; grounded theory