Foster care, indicated by Italian law (184/1983) as temporary support for natural families in a difficult situation, appear to be a straightforward intervention on a theoretical level, but really is a very complex process, because of the necessity for the child to maintain a ggod bond with two very different families, with regard to relational, cultural and social characteristics. Foster care success depends on the child's capacity to balance his or her bond with both families. Our research is aimed at observing the foster child's perceptions about his/her "living between two families", with the purpose of verifying if and how the child's perceptions about his/her natual family, his/her foster family and his/her position between them, chenge in time. Is is a longitudinal research, that has required two stages, at distance of six/eight months. The sample is costituted by 17 children, 6-14 years old, living in foster families or foster communities in Northen Italy. In formation was also gathered about the natural family's composition, the foster care conditions and the foster care arrangement. Our researche used multimethodological settings, comprehending self-report and observational instruments. The results of case analysis show that foster children live their experience of foster care in two different modalities. The first, smaller group is formed by children for whom the past family life was so negative that they cannot progress psychologically, nor take advantage of the foster care situation. For these children as time goes on there are not psychological changes about key perceptions of themselves and their bond with two families. These children probably need a therapeutic support to cope with past negative experiences. The second larger group, constitued by children for whom family difficulties were not so destructive, experience the foster care situation through a complex psychological process, which leads the child to a continuous balancing of the nearness-distance from each family context. This balancing process is possible only if each family allows the child to go away and get near again, without making him/her fell guilty.
|Title of host publication||2nd Internationa Congress of Family Psychology. Program and Abstract Book|
|Number of pages||1|
|Publication status||Published - 1994|
- foster care
- longitudianal research