Family foster care : Can it survive the evidence?

Journal article


Ainsworth, Frank and Hansen, Patricia. (2014). Family foster care : Can it survive the evidence? Children Australia. 39(2), pp. 87-92. https://doi.org/10.1017/cha.2014.5
AuthorsAinsworth, Frank and Hansen, Patricia
Abstract

The media coverage of foster care in Australia is replete with adoration for foster carers who look after disadvantaged and difficult children and youth. As this article is being written, New South Wales is holding a 'foster care week' with enhanced media coverage and praise for foster carers, the recruitment of new foster carers and acclaim for the 'foster carer of the year'. Yet, there is another side to foster care that offers less than ideal circumstances for children in care. There is the worrying issue of multiple placements, the problem with children and young people running away from foster care before they reach the legal age for discharge, and evidence of increased incidence of poor educational attainment and involvement in juvenile offending for young people in foster care. In addition, there are cases of foster children being abused by foster carers. As adults, former foster-care children and youth are over-represented among the homeless, in adult correction centres, the unemployed and the users of mental health services. This article documents these negative outcomes of entering the foster-care system, and asks whether family (or non-relative) foster care can survive this evidence. For too many children and young people, family foster care may not provide better outcomes than less-than-optimal parental care from which the children were removed. An alternative is to reduce the use of family foster care and increase intensive support and parenting education services for birth parents who have limited parenting capacity. The aim should be to limit the number of children being taken into care.

Keywordsfoster care; juvenile offending; educational achievement; mental health; early parenting
Year2014
JournalChildren Australia
Journal citation39 (2), pp. 87-92
PublisherCambridge University Press
ISSN1035-0772‎
2049-7776‎
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1017/cha.2014.5
Scopus EID2-s2.0-84925424688
Page range87-92
Publisher's version
License
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online21 May 2014
Publication process dates
Deposited04 Nov 2022
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