• Katrine Bredal Nielsen
  • Rikke Mathilde Ørtoft Hansen
4. term, Psychology, Master (Master Programme)
In this dissertation we wish to investigate, which meaning the visitation between children placed in foster homes and their parents has for the work concerning foster children. In addition we explore how the child/ parent relationship affects the development of children in foster care. Finally the aim of this dissertation is to explore, how professionals can work to support the child/ parent relationship to influence the positive development of the child.

We explore these themes from a theoretical perspective based on developmental psychology and em-pirical studies of the field. To illustrate important theoretical or empirical points we apply case mate-rial about a girl that where raised in a foster home. Additional qualitative material will also be used.

In Håndbog om Barnets Reform (2011), changes in the field of placement and visitation was present-ed to improve the conditions of foster children. Good intentions were seen, but it appears as if the foundation of this legislation is based on the assumption that contact between the child in foster care and its biological parents must have a high priority. This is not quite in accordance with the existing research-founded psychological- and developmental knowledge.

In this dissertation we conclude that the quality of the visitation is dependent of the child´s attachment to its biological parents. We suggest that training in connection with visitations is established, as a potential result of such intervention could be an improved relation between the foster child, and the biological parents. This way the opportunity is raised for the child to positively increase development of its identity, and self-understanding. The child´s self-esteem can be raised, and it will have im-proved opportunity to understand why it is placed into another family.

The work with replacement cases is often emotionally hard and can be stressful. We see in this disser-tation that social workers in Denmark often work alone with these cases, and that there are a lot of strong feelings present when working in this field. Apparently there are no procedures for social workers in relation to asses and plan visitation between the foster child and its biological parents. It is therefore implied that there might be a risk for fallible decisions. In this view we suggest that the local authorities in Denmark organize exchange of experiences and knowledge, and that shared guidelines in the field of placement and visitation are developed.

In the dissertation an enormous complexity in the field of placement and visitation has emerged. It is difficult to give clearly defined answers to any of the questions asked. It is suggested that future re-search keeps investigating the field of placement and visitation further, since the field has many unex-plored areas.
Publication date29 May 2015
Number of pages87
ID: 213055427