"If i'm here, it's because i do not have anyone": Social support for the biological family during the foster care process

Eduard Vaquero*, M. Àngels Balsells, Carmen Ponce, Aida Urrea, Alicia Navajas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Social support is a crucial element for families in vulnerable situations, especially for those with children in foster care processes. This support is key to the acceptance of the protection measure in the initial moments and to laying the foundations for collaboration towards reunification. However, the social support of these families is limited, and families' use of support elements is strongly related to their attitude towards them. The aims of this article were to identify the types and characteristics of social support and to analyze what elements influence families' attitudes towards these supports. The qualitative study research was carried out in Spain through focus groups and interviews with 135 participants: 63 professionals from child protection services, 42 parents, and 30 children and adolescents who had been in foster care measures. Results show the diversity of social support resources available to families and demonstrate that families make unequal use of such resources depending on factors such as their experiences in the process of formalization and communication of the protection measure or their predisposition to receive support, among others. The important role played by social support resources in the promotion of factors that allow for successful reception and reunification is highlighted.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number31
JournalSocial Sciences
Volume9
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020

Keywords

  • Child welfare
  • Content analysis
  • Family needs
  • Foster care
  • Social support

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