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Preventing placement disruption: how do foster carers experience and explain the process?

Lear, Jennifer Clare (2014) Preventing placement disruption: how do foster carers experience and explain the process? D.Clin.Psychol thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

Despite the importance of placement stability in promoting positive outcomes for looked after children, the number of foster placement disruptions continues to be high. Existing research has identified factors which contribute to placement disruption and success. However, the experiences of foster carers who are able to create stable placements are less well understood. The aim of this study was to examine what can be learnt from the experience of long-term, mainstream foster carers, who had been providing placements that were at risk of disruption, but which eventually became stable. The study explored how foster carers experience and explain recovery from a threatened placement, how and why they make the decision to maintain difficult placements and what processes and factors influence this. It also aimed to understand how theories of attachment and resilience contribute to the understanding of foster carers' experiences. Seven foster carers were recruited from across two Local Authorities. They each took part in a semi-structured interview which was transcribed and subjected to a grounded theory lite methodology. The analysis generated one super-ordinate theme (layers of protection) and seven core themes (fragile context, personal investment and affirmations, expectations, special kind of love, strengthening experiences and feelings, adapt and take action and collective vs isolated). A visual model of the data was produced which represented the protective layers, which collectively mitigated the threatening elements associated with difficult placements. The findings suggested that not all participants needed or experienced all of the layers and that the importance of each layer, in maintaining the placement, was variable, depending on the situation. Clinical implications can be drawn from this study including: the importance of foster carers investment in the role, participants mixed feelings about the full disclosure of information on the child and the importance of balancing realistic expectations and maintaining hope.

Item Type: Thesis (D.Clin.Psychol)
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Medicine and Health (Leeds) > Institute of Health Sciences (Leeds) > Academic Unit of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences (Leeds)
The University of Leeds > Faculty of Medicine and Health (Leeds) > School of Medicine (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.635390
Depositing User: Leeds CMS
Date Deposited: 11 Feb 2015 13:44
Last Modified: 25 Nov 2015 13:47
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/8063

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