Masters Thesis

Social worker's perceptions of the relevance of foster youth's attachments when making placement decisions

This study examines the personal beliefs, thoughts, and opinions about the relevance of incorporating the idea of attachment theory in daily, social work practice from a population of individuals who first hand serve children placed in the child welfare system, social workers employed by the Family Services and Permanent Placement programs of the Kern County Department of Human Services. The research was conducted using a survey method. This research aimed to introduce and support the idea that applying attachment theory in child welfare policies and practice is key to improving the lives of children in the child welfare system. Results from the study indicated that social workers from the two employee programs share similar and differing opinions about the idea of including attachment theory in daily practice. Overall, two themes derived from the results; social workers determine decisions for children placed in the child welfare system on a case by case basis and what is deemed to be in the child’s best interest. Implications for further study suggest conducting surveys about the relevance of attachment theory in the family lives among those who care for these children, foster parents, and the importance of child welfare agencies providing continual trainings about attachment theory for their employees and foster parents.

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