Assessing the relationship between foster children and their families: A tool for research and practice
Keywords:foster care, early detection, family relationship, double belonging, loyalty conflict
The objective of the article is to acquire in-depth knowledge of the nature of family relationships in foster placements by using analyses of illustrative cases from the Double Moon (DM-)test (Greco, 1999). The research focuses on the connections observed between attitudes of non-kinship foster families who facilitate the relationship between the foster children and their biological family, and the perceived well-being of the family relationships. This is a qualitative study based on three instruments: a socio-demographic questionnaire completed by the foster parents and the foster child, two semi-structured interviews, and finally the DM-test. The participants in this study comprised 26 children and 39 foster parents. The study results show that certain attitudes of foster parents can facilitate a child's integration within the foster family and assist with the creation of a calm relationship between the child and the biological family. The study also reveals that in cases where some level of hostility on the part of the foster family towards the child's biological family exists, the child has greater difficulties in adjusting to the foster family and the risk to future disruption increases. Implications for practice are discussed.