Foster Placements: Why They Succeed and Why They Fail

By Ian Sinclair; Kate Wilson et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter Nine

Measuring Success

Introduction
Methodologically our next seven chapters present a sharp contrast to the last six. They are statistical, at times quite heavily so. They are certainly a far cry from the pithy comments of foster children or the individual case histories we have just discussed. That said, we hope that our quantitative and qualitative approaches are complementary. Each considers similar issues. Insofar as they come up with similar messages, we may have more confidence in the two in combination than in either on its own.In broad outline our statistical model suggests that five groups of factors influence outcomes. These are:
the characteristics of the child
the parenting approach of the carers
the way carer/carer's family and child get on
the birth parents (in particular contact with birth parents) and
factors connected with the school.

Each of these groups of factors has featured in our qualitative model. In this way the statistical model can be seen as a test of our qualitative one.

At the same time our two models are not identical. The qualitative model has much to say that cannot easily be picked up by statistical measures–an example is the importance, as we see it, of 'attachment sensitive times'. This model speaks, perhaps, more directly to practitioners. On the other hand our statistics also cover aspects not picked up in our qualitative material. For example, we identify conditions in which contact with parents may be particularly difficult. The qualitative material did show that contact could be very

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