The Challenges and Paradoxes of Kinship Foster Care in a Socially Excluded Locality

Petr Fucik, Katerina Sidiropulu Janku

OBJECTIVES: The study focuses on substitute family care provided by relatives living in asocially excluded locality. Our point of view is structural (practice of social work and family law) and interpretative (everyday experience). THEORETICAL BASE: The paradoxes generated by the current status of kinship foster care are the result of broader societal trends, the transformation of family life and the decline of social solidarity. These mechanisms are clearly visible in the specific experience of fosterers from a socially excluded locality. METHODS: Qualitative interviews were done with kinship foster caregivers (women). Additionally, there were two interviews with social workers and a reflection on participation at a workshop of some relevant organizations. OUTCOMES: The court decision-making between kinship foster-care with financial benefits versus that without is fuzzy and non-transparent for the respondents. It seems that the ideological frameworks of various actors and hidden discrimination shape the results significantly. The risk of the reproduction of improper patterns of socialization is not dealt with consistently and there are no means of the prevention of this for the caregivers outside of their official foster status. SOCIAL WORK IMPLICATIONS: The institution of kinship foster care without financial benefits should be revised. Specific kinds of social work with kinship fosterers should be developed.

everydayness, substitute family care, best interests of the child, kinship, reproduction of social status, Romani people, socially excluded localities

p. 44-61