An in-depth study of clients and social workers in a family service agency revealed striking differences in their perceptions, especially in regard to satisfaction with outcome and assessment of clients' functioning. Selected findings and implications for social work practice and education are presented and discussed.
As a practice method, permanency planning has been on the scene long enough to require re-evaluation of its underlying theory and implications for social work. The authors therefore offer a comprehensive definition of permanency planning and describe its major features in detail.Concern about the phenomenon of drift in foster care has given rise to the practice called permanency planning — the process of taking prompt, decisive action to maintain children in their own homes or place them permanently with other families. This is an important movement in child welfare, and there is a continuing need to clarify its meaning so as to promote its development in theory and practice. Following a brief review of the literature, we therefore propose a comprehensive definition of permanency planning and delineate its major components.
Family foster care is attracting growing attention around the world as a service for children and youths who are placed in out-of-home care or at risk for such placement. In this essay we present selected findings from studies that have been conducted in Australia, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America-countries that in recent years have sought to improve services for young people at risk. We have chosen studies that were based on empirical findings and/or covered primarily issues regarding the outcome of family foster care services rather than out-of-home care in general. 1 Our major purpose is to highlight what is known in this practice arena and suggest implications for further research.
AustraliaThere is limited related research in Australia, where until recently there has been greater emphasis on placement in institutions or group homes for young persons requiring out-of-home care.2 In particular, there is little research on minority children and youths, even though they constitute an increasing proportion of those in care in some Australian states.Since the federal government closed many residential settings in the 1980s and 1990s, there has been increasing reliance on foster family care or some other form of family-based care. As a result, as of June 30, 2003, there were over 20,000 children in out-of-home care, with 51% living with foster parents (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2004). It should be noted that there is a high proportion of Aboriginal children in care. Although the latter comprise only 2.7% of children in Australia, they constitute over 20% of those in out-of-home care; 77% of these are placed with an indigenous family or with relatives (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2004).
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