Contacts in the “Adaptation Period” in Foster Care: “The Law Is Set up Quite Well, but Social Workers Influence it in a Way that is Inappropriate”

Sabina Zdrahalova, Radka Janebova

OBJECTIVES: The aim of the article is to find out how the so-called adaptation period is adjusted in the regional methodologies for foster care in the Hradec Králové Region, how the treatment of the adaptation period is reflected in the same locality from the perspective of workers of organizations accompanying foster parents and workers of social activation services for families with children, how it is defined in laws and nationwide methodologies, how it is theoretically discussed in the Czech professional literature of social work and in foreign professional literature, and how these findings relate to national and international documents on children’s rights. METHODS: Qualitative content analysis of relevant documents as well as secondary analysis of semi-structured interviews and case reports processed by social workers were used. THEORETICAL BASE: The starting point is the concept of the best interests of the child, which is anchored in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and related documents. OUTCOMES: The findings show that in practice there may be decisions that are in conflict with the best interests of the child, with various legal and methodological documents, as well as with the findings of the professional literature. SOCIAL WORK IMPLICATIONS: The responsible authorities should begin to conduct a thorough evaluation of the current functioning of foster care and the support measures that ensure the respecting of children’s rights.

social work, foster care, attachment, contact, adaptation period

p. 76-91

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