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Family practices of in foster care for unaccompanied refugee children and young people
Foster care is...
‘The coming together of strangers’ where ‘key participants in fostering have to co-construct and learn new understandings about intimacy within a relatively short and limited span of time’ (Rees & Pithouse, 2008: 339)
Love/care as resistance
Culture - matched or non-matched
Continuity of network and support
What needs to be in place to enable this (e.g. roles, training)
Losing a family again
Dr Ala Sirriyeh
School of Social Sciences and Public Policy, Keele University
4 local authorities in England
Census study (2,113)
Postal survey with foster carers(133)
Interviews with foster carers and young people (23 case studies)
Focus groups with young people who had left foster care (3)
Focus groups with social workers (4)
Interviews + questionnaire with children’s asylum team managers (4)
Will also refer to Ni Raghallaigh 2013 Ireland foster care study
She told me her rules. What she likes and don't like. (Alice)
She said to me 'Do you want any food?' I said, 'Yeah'. I was starving. And then she said to me, 'Do you want to go to sleep?' I said, 'Yeah, I want to go to sleep', because I was really tired. And then I went to sleep and it was like a dream, like I was feeling so nice. (Abbas)
Building a home
When he came here, the first week I was building a shed at the back, when he didn't know a word in English. But every tool I wanted and would pass it to me...He knew exactly what I wanted and he'd pick it up and would join in and cut a bit of wood for me...I think he enjoyed that. I think that's where the bond started. (Steve)
Doing and displaying family (Morgan 1996,
The way people 'do' family in the regular routines and interactions that become embedded into everyday lives on a day-to-day basis
I said, 'I can choose any school I like for these young people. They are the highest priority...so if you think I'd choose this school think again. I wouldn't dream of it. I wouldn't send my own children there. Why would I send my foster children there?'
'We were taking some photos and we said, 'Oh yeah let's get the family' and they [foster children] stood away and everyone else went 'Oh no, no, no, in, in!' It was just one of those moments when you think OK, yeah, that's it you are'.
'She cooked separately for herself and her husband and we had separate food...She cooked once every month and put them in the freezer...Ours was frozen and hers was cooked fresh'.
'We haven't started thinking about it yet...We have talked about it a little bit. My social worker tried to talk to me about it, and one thing she was talking about was: what is plan B and C? I was like, no plan B and C [laughs], I want to stick to this one and if this gets ruined, [then] everything gets ruined...so we didn't look. If I have a back up, what would it be? I'm not sure. But if this happens, then what I've done, like, for the past three years, everything will be ruined...I'm not going to need it...(Haroon, 17.5 yrs)
'I am on his side whatever happens' (Amina, FC)
'I think it was all right because she [my foster carer], she’s Nigerian and I’m Nigerian as well … we kind of have the same values and norms so'.
'What I like from my last foster mother, she always asked me what kind of food I eat, what kind of music I like, so, and she sometimes takes me to a place where, where there is a cultural programme [from my country], she would take me there, so because … I always miss something about my own culture … so she used to do that and I really liked that about them'.
Ni Raghallaigh, 2013