Foster Care Assessment: An Exploratory Study of the Placement Assessment Process in Flanders and the Netherlands.
Vanderfaeillie, Johan. Damen, Harm. Pijnenburg, Huub. van den Bergh, Peter. Van Holen, Frank.
Published: August 2016
Child and Family Social Work
Vol. 21, No. 3 , p. 358-368
John Wiley & Sons
111 River Street
Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774
Family foster care placement decision-making has a weak scientific underpinning. The identification of clusters of foster children (groups of foster children with similar characteristics) can help improve decision quality. In this study, we investigated if foster children could indeed be clustered, which problems were identified at the time of placement and what might be the influence of placement history. Two clusters of foster children were found: (i) young children with coinciding parental child-rearing incapacity and familial problems, and (ii) older children with child problems. At the time of placement, familial problems were more often identified in younger children with a placement history. These findings stress the importance of approaching foster care assessment as part of a dynamic decision-making process. It is key to finding the most appropriate situation for the child. At the same time, it must be decided how the desired situation can be realized, wherein placement decisions are based on an appraisal of whether or not a foster placement is an appropriate solution. In conjunction with this, it needs to be decided how the parents can be supported towards reunification, or whether or not long-term foster care is the best option for the child, and if so what conditions need to be met. (Author abstract)
foster children; decision making; child placement; matching; family problems; assessment; family reunification; Netherlands