Fostering children with attachment difficulties: exploring the experiences of New Zealand carers.
Thesis DisciplineHealth Sciences
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
The objective of the present study was to explore the experiences of New Zealand non-relative foster carers fostering children with attachment difficulties (indicative of disorders of non-attachment). This objective was achieved using a detailed Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (Smith et al., 2009). Analysis revealed five themes evident in carer accounts: expectations versus reality; satisfactions and strains of fostering children with attachment difficulties; attachment relationships and the benefits of information; the impact of others on the caring experience; and negative expectations and future concerns. Overall, these themes suggest that fostering children with attachment difficulties is a complex and challenging experience which significantly impacts carers and their families. While lack of public understanding and public judgement compound the difficulty of the experience, receiving information about fostering and attachment difficulties appears to alleviate it. The five identified themes and their relation to the existing literature are explored in detail in this thesis. Implications for social policy and practice are discussed, and potential future research directions are outlined.