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Family influence on child protection cases at the point of apprehension and in later foster care : an exploratory study of a group of wards (of the Children's Aid Society, Vancouver) in foster care more than two years Tuckey, Elizabeth Ursula Townsend

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to explore the relationship of the foster child to his own family, and to examine the resulting effects upon the child's adjustment in foster care. The goal of the child welfare worker has changed in the past twenty-five years from the provision of food, clothing, and a roof over the head of the foster child, to an attempt to meet the emotional and psychological as well as physical needs of the child. These needs are likely to vary according to the degree of deprivation suffered by the child before placement. Regardless of the inadequacy of his parents, the child has to think well of them, so far as he is able, if he is also to think well of himself. He must resolve the trauma inevitably resulting from the separation from his parents before he can settle down in his foster home, and take on new ties. Against these concepts as background, the present study examines the circumstances of thirty-four, wards of the Children's Aid Society of Vancouver, B. C., beginning with the family situation at the time of the child's removal, and covering a significant period of foster care. Part of the methodology of the study is an attempt to assess the parents’ strengths and weaknesses including their capacity for parenthood. The children are reviewed twice: once at the time of their removal from their own homes, and again at a fixed date, when all the children had been in foster care for at least two years. The degree of contact with the natural parents is kept in the focus of the study throughout. The study concludes with an assessment of some of the ways in which the foster child can be helped to accept his past, and move on to the future free from hampering or neurotic ties. The implications relate to (a) the children, (b) the natural parents, (c) the foster parents.

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