Child development in foster family care - what really counts?
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CitationKekoni, Taru. Miettinen, Janissa. Häkälä, Niina. Savolainen, Anssi. (2017). Child development in foster family care - what really counts?. EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF SOCIAL WORK, Published online: 01 Aug 2017, 1-14. 10.1080/13691457.2017.1357023.
Previous research has demonstrated that children who grow up in foster family care – along with other child welfare recipients – manage less well in adulthood compared to those children who do not. Given this challenge, this integrative literature review locates the critical factors that either positively or negatively affect a child’s development in foster family care. The articles were analysed using theory-driven content classification in relation to Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological framework on child development. The results of the review suggest that there is a wide range of factors that could impact on a child’s development in foster family care. Childrelated factors such as the child’s age, gender, behavioural or mental health problems, etc. were mentioned most often in the data. Microenvironmental factors are also essential to a child’s development. Linkages taking place between two or more of the child’s circumstances, such as the relationship between the child’s birth and foster families and between the foster family and the social worker, were also identified as being influential. Service usage and political and legislative factors, as well as attitudes towards children in care, were also indicated to be strongly influential. It is suggested that the factors identified in this review should be carefully considered as important aspects of care for fostered children and care documentation.