What interventions work to improve relationships between birth parents and children in foster care?

Journal article


Icheku, V and Paris, C (2017). What interventions work to improve relationships between birth parents and children in foster care? International Journal of Current Research. 9.
AuthorsIcheku, V and Paris, C
Abstract

The number of looked after children in the United Kingdom (UK) is at a thirty year high culminating in the current reduction in adoption placements and subsequently leading to case stagnation(DOE 2015). It is, therefore, imperative that caseworkers throughout the country are knowledgeable about effective interventions that improve birth parent and foster child relationships. The number of looked after children in the United Kingdom (UK) is at a thirty year high (DOE 2015). With a current reduction in adoption placements (DOE 2015), it is imperative caseworkers throughout the country are knowledgeable about effective interventions that improve birth parent and foster child relationships. This paper conducted a systematic literature review through a combination of hand and electronic database searches to select, appraise, extract synthesis and analyse primary articles to establish what works. Both a heterogeneous group of participants and interventions were included. Through a narrative and cross studies synthesis findings demonstrate that a variety of appropriately targeted interventions provided collaboratively and inclusively may work to improve relationships between birth parents and foster children. These include a variety of parenting programmes (birth parent, joint birth parent-foster carer or foster carer training), Family Centred Practice, Outreach case work, a Parent Partner mentoring service and Family Treatment and Drug Courts. Parent Partner mentors were of particular interest in their potential ability to engage birth parents. They were able to offer a unique perspective and present as excellent role models, having successfully reunified with their own children via welfare assistance. Results also demonstrate that a variety of parenting programs were effective when incorporating birth children and taking a whole family approach, for example parent-child therapy and allowing opportunity for contact to practice learnt skills, open foster carer approaches and collaborative case work. Birth fathers were further highlighted as a potentially missed resource and if engaged appropriately through the use of written agreements birth family relationships could be improved at no added governmental cost. If effective evidence based interventions and approaches are used more widely in practice, there is potential for increased birth family reunification and/or ongoing positive relations, contributing to child and parental wellbeing and easing pressure on the care system in the process. However, further research is required to establish if Parent Partner mentors are as promising as they appear within the UK and also whether written agreements alone will be enough to engage fathers to impact positively on family relationships.

KeywordsBirth Parents; Birth Family; Children; Reunification; Intervention; Foster Care
Year2017
JournalInternational Journal of Current Research
Journal citation9
PublisherLondon South Bank University
ISSN0975-833x
Web address (URL)http://www.journalcra.com
Publication process dates
Deposited10 Jul 2017
Accepted30 Apr 2017
Accepted author manuscript
License
CC BY 4.0
Permalink -

https://openresearch.lsbu.ac.uk/item/86z89

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