Proceedings of The 5th International Conference on New Findings On Humanities and Social Sciences
Experiences of Placement Breakdown among Children and Youth with Behavioural Difficulties in the Foster Care System in Croatia
Ivana Galić, Slavica Blažeka Kokorić and Maja Laklija
Many studies have shown different negative psychological and health-related consequences of frequent changes in placement affecting foster care children. There is also evidence that placement disruptions and child behavioural difficulties are interrelated. This qualitative research aims to provide insight into the experiences of children and the youth with behavioural difficulties regarding foster care placement breakdown. The research was conducted by using the semi-structured interview method. Interpretative phenomenological analysis was used to analyse the data. Eight male adolescents with behavioural difficulties who had experiences of placement changes from foster care to institutional care in Croatia were the participants included in this study. All of them had at last one experience of foster care placement breakdown. The results of this study showed that children and foster parents are not adequately prepared for foster care. Some of the participants experienced many problems in foster families: an unequal position between them and biological children of foster parents, a strong sense of non-acceptance and feeling of being left to themselves, violence, physical punishment, etc. The reasons for their withdrawal from placement in the foster family were physical violence, their negative behaviours and problems at school, conflict relationships in foster family, and discontinuation of foster care by foster parents. They recognised the need for improvement of certain aspects of the foster care system in Croatia (better education of foster parents for children with behavioural difficulties, better professional monitoring and supervision, improvement of quality of relationships in foster families, etc.).
Keywords: children and youth with behavioural difficulties, specialised foster care, placement breakdown.