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Title: A Phenomenological Study of Foster Caregivers' Experiences of Formal and Informal Support
Contributor(s): Cavazzi, T (author); Guilfoyle, Andrew (author); Sims, Margaret  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2010
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Abstract: In recent years the number of children in foster care has increased significantly, and the inability to recruit and retain caregivers has resulted in considerable pressure. International research has shown that formal and informal support can improve caregiver retention, but it is unclear how this applies in the Australian context. The present study used a phenomenological approach, undertaking semi-structured interviews with seven caregivers in western Australia. Thematic analysis indicated that caregivers derived satisfaction from fostering, although this was diminished by undesirable child behavior and unpleasant interactions with biological parents. Caregivers also felt unsupported and unappreciated by formal networks, identifying issues such as inadequate information regarding children, irregular contact, exclusion from decisionmaking, and unacknowledged attachments during placement termination. Within their informal support networks, caregivers described feeling socially restricted and criticized, although some caregivers reported a positive response from informal networks. These findings highlight the importance of formal and informal support in reducing caregiver strain and improving caregiver retention.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Illinois Child Welfare, 5(1), p. 125-141
Publisher: School of Social Work, Loyola University Chicago
Place of Publication: Chicago, United States of America
ISSN: 1934-3620
Field of Research (FOR): 160702 Counselling, Welfare and Community Services
111718 Residential Client Care
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 940104 Carers Development and Welfare
940107 Comparative Structure and Development of Community Services
920413 Social Structure and Health
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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