Foster Care Attachment

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Given the developmental, behavioral and emotional issues a child from an abusive environment brings, it can be difficult for social workers and other professionals to connect with a child whose behaviors and attitudes are designed to prevent adults from getting close to them. Relationship theories such as Imago and Pair therapy state that the first step in rebuilding a wounded individual is to establish a sense of trust and safety in which that individual can begin to abandon old behavior patterns. Once these patterns are released, the individual is able to heal old wounds and begin to grow in a healthier way. Studies show that one caring individual can make a significant difference in the
life of a wounded child (Cassidy & Shaver, 1999). Many…show more content…
Most of the children who are introduced into foster care have experienced disruptions of their relationships with their caregivers, and many of these children have experienced abuse or neglect. The study of attachment has received increasing attention over the last 50 years and is recognizable as a theoretical basis for understanding and describing the bonding abilities of children to their caregivers (Haight, Kagle, & Black, 2003). Numerous studies have been conducted to explore the importance of attachment and how it is indicative of the parent-child bond. According to attachment theory, the goal of attachment behavior is for the infant to be taken care of and protected. The Psychologist John Bowlby was the first attachment theorist who described attachment as a lasting psychological connectedness between human beings (Page & Norwood, 2007). Bowlby believed that the earliest bonds formed by children with caregivers have a tremendous impact that continues through life. Attachment increases the probability of the infant’s survival in the environment in which the species first evolved and protection is thus conceived to be the biological function of…show more content…
Some practitioners and other professionals that assist foster children have embraced some of the key elements of attachment theory. Attachment theory articulates the potential risks of experiencing to object loss. It emphasizes the importance of close social relationships to development and recognizes that substitute parents may not always have close relationships with children who have experienced adversities before joining them (Page & Norwood, 2007). Attachment theory offers concerned parents what they believe to be a scientific explanation about their lack of the close, satisfying parent–child relationship they desire. Yet the scientific base of attachment theory is limited both in terms of its ability to predict future behaviors, and especially with regard to its use as the underpinning theory for therapeutic intervention with children experiencing conduct problems (Sands & Gellis, p. 167). There is a critical need to review the role of attachment theory in child and family services and to consider its place among other explanations for children’s disturbing behavior. An important step towards pursuing alternative approaches is for researchers and practitioners to understand the reasons the attachment paradigm appeals to so many adoptive and foster parents, given the apparent widespread prevalence of attachment-based

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