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Teaching Children to Love and Be Loved: Foster Carers' Experiences of Bonding with Children in Care

Langley, Kirsty M. R.; (2019) Teaching Children to Love and Be Loved: Foster Carers' Experiences of Bonding with Children in Care. Doctoral thesis (D.Clin.Psy), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Aims: This study aimed to explore foster carers’ experiences of bonding with young children in foster care and the sources of support they receive in these roles. Method: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 foster carers (eight females; six shared carers) with experience caring for children age seven and under. Interviews lasted on average 95 minutes and were analysed using thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006). Results: Four main themes were generated from the data which each had between three to five subthemes that described the experiences of ‘Building Bonds, ‘Barriers to Building Bonds’, ‘Barriers to the Accessing Support” and the ‘Breaking of Bonds’. The themes and sub-themes built upon one another to provide an idea of the landscape in which foster carers are expected to provide care and opportunities for bonding. Conclusions: The experience of bonding with young foster children was invariably described as a natural process, where carers felt like parents to the children they cared for. Endings for this reason often felt to foster carers like the loss of their own child, which they felt was often not acknowledged by professionals. Foster carers discussed a number of factors that impacted upon their ability to bond and care for young children, depicting a complex landscape in which they often felt their voices were not listened to and support was hard to access. The themes generated are discussed in relation to how attachment interventions can be adapted to meet the unique needs of foster carers and the children in their care, with particular reference to the idea of taking an ecological approach (Bronfenbrenner, 2005), to capture and acknowledge the wide range of factors that can influence the foster carer-child relationship.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: D.Clin.Psy
Title: Teaching Children to Love and Be Loved: Foster Carers' Experiences of Bonding with Children in Care
Event: UCL
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2019. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10085677
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