Supporting Foster And Kinship Carers To Promote The Mental Health Of Children.
Fergeus, Josh. Humphreys, Cathy. Harvey, Carol. Herrman, Helen.
Published: February 2019
Child & Family Social Work
Vol. 24, No. 1 , p. 77-83
John Wiley & Sons
111 River Street
Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774
The majority of children and young people removed from the care of their parents by the state of Victoria, Australia, reside in foster or kinship care. These children have experienced a broad range of adverse conditions and are up to 4 times more likely to experience problems with mental health than their mainstream peers. This paper draws on the perspectives of foster and kinship carers, describing the disconnection between their role as mental health advocates and their interest in early intervention in a field which is dominated by crisis and the historic marginalisation of foster and kinship carers. Thirty‐one foster and kinship carers across greater metropolitan Melbourne, Australia, contributed to this study through interviews and focus groups. Participants demonstrated a practical understanding of mental health and an ability to identify a range of conditions that have an adverse impact on the mental health of children and young people in their care. The paper concludes that there is a lack of systemic support and even a range of barriers that affect the capacity of foster and kinship carers to promote the mental health and well‐being of the children and young people in their care. (Author abstract)
Australia; foster children; foster parents; parental attitudes; kinship care; child advocacy; mental health services; barriers