Hearing quiet voices: biological children's experiences of fostering

Sutton, L. and Stack, N. (2013) Hearing quiet voices: biological children's experiences of fostering. British Journal of Social Work, 43(3), pp. 596-612. (doi: 10.1093/bjsw/bcr186)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcr186


In the UK, foster families are the most common form of care for looked after children. Research in this area has mainly concentrated on foster mothers and looked after children but little is known about the experiences of biological children in these families. This paper reports on the findings of a qualitative study that was conducted with the biological children of foster-carers within an independent foster-care agency. Using semi-structured interviews, the paper considers the perspectives of biological children and asks how they adapt to the fostering experience. Generally, they appear to view the fostering experience in a positive light. A number of strategies were adopted by the children and their families in adapting to the changing family structure and dynamics. It was evident that the existing attachment relationship between biological children and their parents formed a key context within which these adaptive functions develop. The paper emphasises the importance of recognising the role of biological children as part of the fostering team and the value of their active inclusion in training, support groups and decision making.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Stack, Professor Niamh
Authors: Sutton, L., and Stack, N.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Social Justice Place and Lifelong Education
Journal Name:British Journal of Social Work
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN (Online):1468-263X
Published Online:27 January 2012

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