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The Child's Journey Through Care: Placement Stability, Care Planning, and Achieving Permanency

The Child's Journey Through Care: Placement Stability, Care Planning, and Achieving Permanency

Dorota Iwaniec (Editor)

ISBN: 978-0-470-01138-6

Sep 2006

304 pages

In Stock



This book focuses on children's journeys through the care system, from voluntary admission into care, through complicated and often long court proceedings, in pursuit of Care or Freeing Orders. Problems that arise from taking cases through the courts are examined, together with tensions that may arise between judicial and social work decision-making.

The Child's Journey Through Care discusses in full:

  • the emotional and behavioural problems of looked-after children and elaborates on care-planning and helping strategies;
  • children's rights whilst in State care and their participation in decision-making about their future, including preparation for appearances in court;
  • the importance and ways of building new attachments and relationships with substitute carers, with emphases on resilience and children's strengths;
  • pitfalls and successes when seeking permanency of care and emotional stability.

The book also includes considerations of the European Convention of Human Rights (1998) and describes many of the dilemmas arising in meeting the rights of children and parents, without jeopardising the welfare of either. The importance of openness, consideration, and straightforward dealings with parents is given due emphasis, especially where preparations for taking cases to court are involved.

The Child's Journey Through Care will be a valuable source of information for field and residential workers, social work supervisors, resource managers, policy makers, and those working in the legal profession.

List of Illustrations xi

About the Contributors xiii

Preface xvii

Editor's Acknowledgements xix

Part I The Need for a Good Start in Life: Attachment, Bonding, and Children's Rights 1

1 Introduction: An Overview of Children in Public Care 3
Dorota Iwaniec

Introduction 3

Problems and Dilemmas with Fostering and Residential Care 5

Looked-after Children in the United Kingdom 8

Abuse of Children in Care 10

The Purpose and Organisation of the Book 11

References 14

2 Ordinary Children in Extraordinary Circumstances 17
Jane Aldgate

Introduction 17

Children in Need 17

Recent Child-development Thinking 18

The Ecological Perspective 19

Recognising the Uniqueness of Individual Children 20

The Well-ness Approach 21

Resilience and Strengths 21

An Optimistic View of Child Development 22

Children as Actors in their Own Development 23

Aspects of Children's Development of Special Relevance to

Looked-after Children 24

Children's Attachments 24

What Is Attachment? 25

Children and Multiple Attachments 26

Continuities and Discontinuities of Working Models 27

The Impact of Loss on Children's Development 28

Counteracting the Impact of Loss and Separation with Contact and Connectedness 30

Attachments and Socio-genealogical Connectedness 31

Counteracting the Impact of Separation with Stability 32

A Permanency Planning Approach 33

What Can Help Promote Children's Development in Practice? 33

References 35

3 The Importance of Developing Emotional Bonds between Parents and Children 41
Emma Larkin

Introduction 41

What Is Bonding? 41

Bonding and Attachment 43

What Influences the Bonding Process? 44

The Bonding Process and Care Careers 48

Facilitating the Bonding Process for Alternative Care-providers 53

Summary 54

References 55

4 Children in Alternative Care: Are their Rights Being Met? 61
Rosemary Kilpatrick

Introduction 61

Children's Rights 62

Articles Associated with Alternative Care 63

Processes Leading to Care Orders 65

Care Orders 66

Foster Care 67

Residential Care 69

Secure Accommodation 71

Conclusion 73

Acknowledgements 75

Notes 75

References 75

Part II Pathways to Permanency 79

5 Outcomes of Long-term Foster Care: Young People's Views 81
Colette McAuley

Introduction 81

Improving Outcomes for Looked-after Children 82

Outcomes of Long-term Foster Care 83

Children's Rights and Researching Children's Views 84

The Pathways and Outcomes Study 85

Interviews with the Young People: Key Messages 86

Implications for Policy and Practice 92

Conclusion 93

References 94

6 Kinship Care as a Route to Permanent Placement 99
Una Lernihan and Greg Kelly

Introduction 99

Children Cared For by the Kinship and Traditional Foster Parents 100

The Placement of Children in Kinship Foster Care 102

The Motivation of Kinship Carers 102

Contact between the Children and their Birth-families 104

Contact with Birth-fathers 105

Kinship Foster Carers and Contact 105

Relationship between Birth-mother and Fostering Household 106

Care Plans 108

Adoption 109

Residence Orders 109

Conclusion 110

References 112

7 Exploring Regional Trends in Pathways to Permanency 113
Dominic McSherry and Emma Larkin

Introduction 113

Placement Trends in Northern Ireland: Policy and Practice 114

Placement Trends in Northern Ireland: Statistical Information 116

Research on Regional Placement Variation 117

Examining Regional Variations 119

Variations in Placement Patterns over Time 120

Discussion of Results 124

Conclusion 127

Acknowledgements 127

References 128

Part III Residential and Mixed Care 131

8 Developments in Residential Care in Northern Ireland 133
Dominic McSherry and Emma Larkin

Introduction 133

Setting the Context for Change – Residential Care in England and Wales 134

Setting the Context for Change – Residential Care in Northern Ireland 137

Discussion 140

Conclusion 142

Acknowledgements 143

Note 143

References 143

9 The Mental-health Needs of Looked-after Children 147
Tom Teggart

Introduction 147

Looked-after Children and Mental Health 148

Understanding Looked-after Children's High Levels of Mental-health Needs 152

Are We Meeting the Mental-health Needs of Looked-after Children? 155

Models of Mental-health Service Delivery to Looked-after Children 158

Conclusion 161

References 163

10 Changing Lives or Just Changing Location? Planning for Adolescents in Substitute Care 169
Helga Sneddon

Introduction 169

Background 169

The Planning Process for Children Placed in Residential or Foster Care 171

Conclusion 178

References 179

11 Making Use of Positive Psychology in Residential Child Care 183
Stan Houston

Introduction 183

An Introduction to Positive Psychology 185

Goleman and 'Emotional Intelligence' 188

Therapeutic Aspects of 'Emotional Intelligence' 190

Csikszentmihalyi and 'Flow' 193

Therapeutic Aspects of 'Flow' 196

Conclusion: Positive Psychology at Work 197

References 199

Part IV Court and Family Support Pathways to Substitute Care 201

12 Pathways to Permanence: Accommodation, Compulsion, and Permanence under the Children (NI) Order (1995) 203
Theresa Donaldson

Introduction 203

The Study 205

Care Order Application or Accommodation? 207

Parents' 'Co-operation' 210

Implications for Permanence Planning 215

References 217

13 Care Planning in Care Proceedings: A Case Study Perspective on Achieving Permanency 219
Dominic McSherry

Introduction 219

Care Planning 220

Parallel Planning 220

Concurrent Planning 221

Permanency Planning and Attachment 221

Case Studies 222

Discussion 230

Acknowledgements 232

References 232

14 The Participation of Looked-after Children in Public Law Proceedings 235
Karen Winter

Introduction 235

Who Are Looked-after Children? 236

Looked-after Children and Public Law Proceedings 237

Definitions of Participation 238

Reasons for the Increased Emphasis on Participation 239

Mechanisms and Provisions for the Participation of Looked-after Children in Public Law Proceedings 240

Effectiveness of Existing Mechanisms and Provisions Regarding the Participation of Looked-after Children in Public Law Cases 242

Room for Improvement 244

Ways Forward 246

Conclusion 251

References 251

Part V Messages from Research 257

15 Messages from Research 259
Dorota Iwaniec and Helga Sneddon

Introduction 259

Pathways to Permanency 259

Kinship Care 261

Permanency through Adoption 262

Building Attachments and Bonding 263

Children's Rights and Participation of Children in Public Law Proceedings 264

Care Planning, Assessment, and Intervention 266

Legal and Voluntary Pathways to Substitute Care 267

Difficulties and Costs of Legal Proceedings 268

Conclusion 269

References 270

Index 273

“…a consistent style that makes some complex issues quite accessible…if you’ve only got time for one book about care, this could be it.” (Children Now, April 2007)