Children Going Home: The Re-Unification of Families (Routledge Revivals).
Bullock, Roger. Gooch, Daniel.
xi, 261 p.
Published: July 1, 2018
Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group
711 Third Avenue
New York, NY 20017
This text shares the findings of a child care study that examined the return experiences of children looked after by local authorities. For the study, the care careers of 875 children looked after in the 1980s were re-analyzed and hypotheses drawn from the emerging data. These hypotheses were then tested prospectively on a sample of 463 children separated from parents in 1993 in order to identify the factors that best predict the likelihood of a child’s reunion and its success. Findings are reported that chart patterns of separation and return, consider the experiences of those involved, and highlight factors associated with the likelihood of return and its success. Specifically, Part 1 of the book looks at return in child-care law, policy, and research. Part 2 presents findings from an in-depth study of the return process. Part 3 explores who goes home, and Part 4 examines how social workers can predict which looked after children return home and whether the reunion is successful. Findings indicate: factors predicting return at any stage included separation by voluntary arrangement and relationships within the family are reasonably good; the majority of children and adolescents separated from home do return to parents or the wider family once they leave care or accommodation; 70% of children who go home stayed put and social workers’ assessments of the reunions suggest they are tranquil and unremarkable; and factors predicting successful reunions include the family is prepared for the anxiety generated by returns and the disputes likely to occur, family relationships are of a family high quality, and the child is not an offender. Practice and policy implications are discussed. 23 tables, 8 figures, and numerous references.
family reunification; predictor variables; family relationships; foster children; family problems