An exploration of the experience of children and prospective parents as they transition into a permanent placement arrangement: an interpretive collective case study

Shinkfield, Carol
Gibson, Kerry
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Master of Philosophy
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Auckland University of Technology

This research study examines the psychological and emotional experiences of children and parents as they embark on a permanent placement living arrangement. A permanent placement living arrangement is entered into when a child is no longer able to reside with their family of origin. Three family groups participated in the study and separate interviews were conducted with both the children and placement parents. Overall, three interviews were conducted, with the first interview taking place prior to the child’s transition into the family. A further two interviews were conducted with the participants after the transition had taken place. The findings of this study indicate that both the parents and children were profoundly affected by the experience of permanent placement. The common themes that emerged from the data were the hopes, anxieties and coping strategies of the participants which became the focal point of analysis. The parents experienced a mixture of fulfilment, tempered with anxieties of whether they would be able to provide adequate care for the child placed with them. Whereas, the children appeared to find it difficult to trust that this experience would be any different from their previous experiences. The study concludes that further attention is needed in the preparation for the transition into permanent placement. It further concludes that ‘after transition’ support is important to the stability of the placement.

Permanent placement , Foster care , Adoption , Children , Parents , Case study
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