Foster Placements: Why They Succeed and Why They Fail

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

Chapter Fifteen

Change and Containment

Introduction

So far our study, like others before it, has been much concerned with disruption and hence with containment. Containment, however, is only enough if the child is either to remain for good in the protective environment or return to another which is equally supportive. Realistically, neither of these options is often on offer. So the question arises of whether the child can be helped (e.g. through education) to change so that he or she is better able to survive and flourish even in challenging environments.

This penultimate chapter focuses on change. How far and in what respects did the children change? How far are any changes explained by our statistical model? In particular, how far do they reflect the four key variables we have so far identified–the parenting, child orientation and rejection scores and contact with an educational psychologist?

In taking this focus on change we concentrate, for the most part, on children who were still in the foster placement at follow-up. In the case of these children we were able to compare scores at the Time 1 survey with scores at the Time 2 survey, examine how far there were differences and then try and explain them. As a complement to this approach, we also asked the carers in both surveys whether they thought the children had changed in certain respects. In the case of the survey at Time 1 we were able to examine their replies for all the children. We begin the chapter by considering the direct questions we asked about change. In the second part of the chapter we consider the change scores. As will be seen, the approach we adopt in these two sections is rather bald: we set down what we did and what we found. Unfortunately, what we found was rather complicated and confusing. In the

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