The reunification partnership: engaging birth parents and foster carers as collaborators in restoration casework
Ankersmit, L 2016, 'The reunification partnership: engaging birth parents and foster carers as collaborators in restoration casework', Australian Social Work, vol. 69, no. 3, pp. 273-282.
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Collaboration is recognised as a key factor influencing the success of efforts to reunite children with their family following a protective intervention and a period in out-of-home care. Until now, little research has explored the possibilities of collaboration in this context, especially between parents and foster carers. This qualitative, interpretive study asked child protection caseworkers involved in restoration cases about their perceptions, perspectives, and experiences of collaboration between parents and carers. In-depth interviews were conducted with six caseworkers from five locations in New South Wales. The study found that caseworkers identified factors that influence the development of collaboration. These factors include trust, motivation and willingness, knowledge, and agreement. They also described strategies for promoting these factors in their casework. The research highlighted that a collaborative relationship between parents and carers can be facilitated through casework practice that considers certain factors and that strategically addresses the barriers to collaboration.