A Chance for Change: The Role of Trust in Foster Care
Coleman, Michele Harryette
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The Child Welfare System is faced with an increasing number of children in foster care with a decreasing number of foster homes available for placement. By interviewing adults who were former foster children, this study examines the significance of one caring adult in the life of a foster child. Erik Erikson states that in the first stage of psychosocial development a child learns trust vs. mistrust. For many children entering foster care, this first stage of development has not been achieved, given their experiences in their biological families. In order to protect themselves during this time of mistrust, children exhibit behaviors designed to keep adults at a distance. This poses a problem for foster parents who must try to develop trust with their foster children in an effort to change their behavior. What if anything can be done to help these children learn to trust? The participants were asked to focus on specific behaviors at least one caring adult demonstrated that helped them as foster children, move through their past experiences of mistrust to a place of trusting that caring adult. The concept of attachment theory provided a foundation for the study.
- Masters Theses