THE ROLE OF THE SOCIAL WORKER IN THE REUNIFICATION OF FOSTER CHILDREN WITH THEIR BIOLOGICAL PARENTS

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RESEARCH PROJECT TOPIC ON THE ROLE OF THE SOCIAL WORKER IN THE REUNIFICATION OF FOSTER CHILDREN WITH THEIR BIOLOGICAL PARENTS

Abstract

This study examined depression and externalizing problems of children in foster care using a subsample of data (N = 362) from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being. Our findings indicated that more frequent contact with the biological mother was marginally associated with lower levels depression and significantly associated with lower externalizing problem behaviors. The association with externalizing problem behavior was significant even after controlling for gender and exposure to violence. Further, differences with regard to gender were revealed. Specifically, girls had higher depression scores than boys even after controlling for exposure to violence. Results suggest that supporting frequent, consistent, visitation may impact the levels of depression and externalizing programs children in foster care exhibit.

Reunification with biological parents is the goal for the majority of children in foster care, at least initially (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2005). When children are removed from their homes and placed in foster care, parental visitation is considered the primary intervention for maintaining the parent-child relationship (Mallon & Leashoer, 2002). Although contact with biological parents may be beneficial for children in foster care, it is not uncommon to also hear concern that visits with biological parents may be emotionally distressing for children (Moyers, Farmer, & Lipscombe, 2006) and lead to displays of emotional and behavioral problems (Fanshel, Finch, & Grundy, 1990). Given the critical psychological needs of children in the child welfare system (Holtan, Ronning, Handegayrd, & Sourander, 2005), it is important to examine the impact of contact with biological parents upon depression and externalizing problems of children in foster care

TABLE OF CONTENT

Title Page———i

Certification——–ii

Dedication———iii

Acknowledgement——-iv

Abstract ———vi

Table of Content——–vii

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction ——-1

1.1 Statement of Problem——4

1.2 Purpose of the Study——5

1.3 Significance of Study——8

1.4 Limitation——–9

1.5 Scope of Study——-11

Chapter Two

2.0 Review of Related Literature —-12

2.6 Summary of Literature Review—- 19

Chapter Three

3.0 Research Methodology and Procedure—22

3.1 Population ——–22

3.2 Sample and Sampling Technique—-22

3.3 Validation of the Instrument —-23

3.4 Reliability of the Instrument —–23

3.5 Data Analysis——-23

Chapter Four

4.0 Presentation and Discussion of Result—24

4.1 Analysis and interpretaion of Data—25

4.2 Discussion of Results——38

Chapter Five

5.0 Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation  –40

5.1 Summary——–40

5.2 Conclusion——–41

5.3 Recommendation——42

References ———45

Appendix 1——–47

Appendix ———50

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