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Understanding and negotiating identity: Children from cross-community families in public care in Northern Ireland

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In Northern Ireland, most research on the impact upon children of living through the ‘troubles’ and in a divided society has assumed that children are from either the Catholic or Protestant community. There has been very little research with children from cross-community families who have one parent from a Catholic background and one from a Protestant background. It is known, however, that these children are over-represented in the public care system in Northern Ireland. The study reported in this paper addresses this gap in knowledge by exploring the experiences and views of children from cross-community families who are in public care in Northern Ireland. The study has key messages for the development of services for looked after children from cross-community families, if these are to be delivered in accordance with legislative duties in Northern Ireland and in an anti-sectarian manner.

Keywords: Northern Ireland; children; cross-community; identity; public care

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Lecturer in Social Work, Queen's University, Belfast, and

Publication date: November 1, 2005


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