Contact Between Children in Care and their Birth Families
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMasters of Education (Endorsed in Child and Family Psychology)
This dissertation describes a study that investigated the perceptions of foster parents and kinship caregivers (grandparents caring for their grandchildren) around contact issues between children in their care and their birth parents in Canterbury, New Zealand. The study employed a qualitative approach for data collection and analysis. The qualitative method of data collection for the study comprised of three focus groups, two with foster parents and one with grandparents. The focus groups were conducted using a modified Nominal Group Technique (NGT) where two questions posed to the participants sought to understand their views about behaviours they noticed in children in their care before and after contact with birth parents. In addition, a further question was asked to gain an understanding around their feelings on contact with birth parents. Findings of the study indicated that foster parents largely described children’s behaviour before and after contact to be distressing and stressful for them, with few positive benefits. Furthermore, foster parents mainly stated strong, negative feelings around contact with biological parents. In the discussion, implications of these results are discussed for foster children, foster parents and social welfare practices.