“A highly demanding measure”: practitioner contributions to improving practice and policy for foster families

Elisete Diogo, Francisco Branco

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Abstract

Foster families provide at-risk children with a family environment. In Portugal, however, there appears to be a major lack of political investment in foster care programmes, with only around 191 children currently placed with a foster family. To increase these numbers, we need to listen and give a voice to the social workers who provide support to foster carers. This empirical study uses a qualitative methodology based on interviews with practitioners working in the only two organisations offering a foster care programme. The qualitative analysis is inspired by categorical analysis. The findings suggest an urgent need for policy action to train workers throughout the child protection system so as to guarantee service quality standards. Moreover, this should be combined with a mass information campaign aimed at the general public. This would provide a real social image of foster families, as well as improving their recruitment and retention.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-132
Number of pages10
JournalCuadernos de Trabajo Social
Volume36
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2023

Keywords

  • Foster families
  • Foster care
  • Social work intervention
  • Practitioner contributions to policy

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