Contact, Welfare and Children in Care: Revisiting the Significance of Birth Family Relationships After Finding Significant Harm.
Richardson, Vanessa. Boylan, Jane. Brammer, Alison.
Published: March 2017
Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law
Vol. 39, No. 1 , p. 67-82
Taylor and Francis Group
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Philadelphia, PA 19106
The focus of this paper is the issue of continuing birth family involvement in the child’s life once the child is living in care. Drawing on a psychosocial study and free association narrative interviews with care leavers it focuses on the harm to a young woman called Frances, caused by direct contact with her birth family and the cessation of such contact. The paper addresses the tension between these two types of harm, in particular the role of contact in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in care. It presents an argument for the child’s care plan to emphasise the need for ongoing review of the role and impact of the child’s close relationships and contact with their birth family once the child is in care. This includes ongoing consideration of the child’s changing relationship with the birth mother and siblings with a view to reconciliation in young adulthood. (Author abstract)
birth families; foster children; visitation; parent child relationships; emotional problems; child abuse; siblings; family reunification; birth parents; PARENTAL VISITS