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How do 'children who foster' perceive fostering?

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There has been an increasing awareness of the important role that the children of foster parents play in fostering. Within the Integrated Services Programme various initiatives have been set up to support these young people and to value their contribution. As part of this, Wendy Spears and Melanie Cross have sought the views of 'children who foster' about fostering. The results of 20 interviews and three group sessions with children who foster are presented here. Although they acknowledged the difficulties, these young people appeared to value and to have benefited from the experience of fostering in many cases. They were asked specifically to give advice to others in the same position and this also provides valuable insights. The results of this study have implications for the way the children of foster families, and indeed their parents, are trained and supported. The role of children who foster is not always clear and it is important that this is carefully negotiated with them and with their families. These young people can be instrumental in the success or failure of a placement.
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Keywords: CHILDREN WHO FOSTER; CONSULTATION; DEVELOPMENT OF SERVICES; FOSTERING; INFLUENCING PLACEMENT OUTCOMES; SUPPORT AND TRAINING

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 December 2003

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