Professional Research Summary – Developmental Psychology – Children in Foster Care

In this journal article, that is a consensus statement on group care for children and adolescents, Dozier, et al. (2014) find and affirm that growing in a family where there is at least one loving adult caregiver who is stable and committed, is not only a requirment but also a right of children and adolescents. The authors acknowledge the role of group care for children and adolescents and the bnefits it offers in the provision of intensive services. Be that as it may, Dozier, et al. (2014) assert that group care ought not to be favor over family care but should only be used when it is the alternative that is least detrimental. The authors of this article agree that group care does not involve child sensitive exercise of adult authority since children are deprived of the opportunity to form an attachement to a parent figure.

            This journal article by Octoman, McLean, & Sleep (2014), explores behaviours that carers find challenging in foster care. The article acknowledges that a range of challenging behaviors is expected of children placed in care as a result of neglect or abuse. The authors find that the behaviour that is hard for carers to manage can be classified into four distinct profiles. These profiles are useful in providing support for foster carers and ensures that stability in foster placement is enhanced.

In this journal article by Dozier, Zeanah, & Bernard (2014)on Infants and Toddlers in Foster care, the authors highlight the physiological and behavioral dysregulation that the children are susceptible to. They outline the nurturing care that the children would need towards developing organized attachments to caregivers. A lack of nurturing care at both the system and the parent level, they argue, would not meet the needs of the children. Towards enhancing nurturance and synchrony by parents, the authors recommend two models of intervention aimed at enhancing commitment and stability of caregivers.

Ramsay-Irving(2015) in her journal article asserts that despite the good intended by foster care, the systems are failing foster children. She highlights the reality that compared to children not placed in foster care, those in foster care suffer more emotional, behavioural, educational, social and psychological problems that are likely to continue into adulthood. She cites the theory of attachment as one of the best ways that explains the reasons why children in foster care systems are prone to these problem. Based on her findings she provides practical solutions capable of  producing better results of youth in care, which are all centered on changing the system if different, more positive outcomes are to be achieved.

To promote resilience processes in the situation of children in foster care, Leve, et al. (2013) provide a practitioner’s review that looks both into the vulnerabilities the children are exposed to and evidence-based interventions that can be applied. The authors acknowledge a lagging behind in the development of interventions aimed at improving outcomes for foster children that are evidence-based. They however, find that the constraints in the service system provides not only challenges but also opportunities to routinely implement interventions that are evidence-based.They recommend implementation of interventions that are effective and an evaluation of efficacious interventions not only from the United States but also from other countries in the world.

In light of the findings above, the direction and guidelines within which one should advance their profession in development psychology and specifically in relation to psychological evaluations in child protection matters becomes very clear. The findings and recommendations from the research above increases a sense of professional practice in child protection matters that is desirable not only to those in the profession but also others who are interested in this field and the public. This research empowers psychologists to gather and share psychological data and expertise that ought to be used in decision-making to increases fairness in verdicts that involve child protection.

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