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The Trouble with Foster Care: The Impact of Stressful 'Events' on Foster Carers

Kate Wilson, Ian Sinclair and Ian Gibbs
The British Journal of Social Work
Vol. 30, No. 2 (APRIL 2000), pp. 193-209
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23716101
Page Count: 17
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The Trouble with Foster Care: The Impact of Stressful 'Events' on Foster Carers
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Abstract

The article draws on the first stages of a large-scale longitudinal study into foster care with 'looked after' children. It uses data supplied by 950 foster carers in response to a postal questionnaire designed to document the proportions who had experienced one or more of six potentially stressful 'events': breakdowns or disruptions, allegations, relationship with birth parents, family tensions, 'tug of love' cases, and other disagreements with social services. The article uses carers' comments to describe their reaction to the 'events'. It then examines the relationship between the 'events' and measures of carer stress, satisfaction with fostering, and intentions to continue fostering. Overall, two-thirds of the sample had experienced one or more of these 'events' and these were associated with a measure of mental ill-health and with attitudes towards continuing fostering.

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