THE UTILISATION OF ATTACHMENT THEORY BY SOCIAL WORKERS IN FOSTER CARE SUPERVISION By Wezet Botes & Dr Elma Ryke
Is attachment theory relevant to social work? <ul><ul><li>Children in foster care many times has experienced trauma which ...
Central theoretical statement <ul><li>Haight  et al.,  (2003) holds that ”understanding several aspects of attachment rela...
Methodology <ul><li>Quantitative-descriptive survey. </li></ul><ul><li>Self developed questionnaire  administered over the...
Methodology <ul><li>Data was processed electronically on SPSS and Exell with support from the statistics department of Nor...
Demographics   <ul><li>Age: (n=17) mean 36. min-22, max-64 </li></ul><ul><li>Gender: all female. </li></ul><ul><li>Race: B...
Knowledge and use of theoretical components of Attachment Theory <ul><li>Theoretical components :Average knowledge of AT=2...
Knowledge and use of theoretical components of Attachment Theory <ul><li>Cross reference experience with knowledge and use...
Attachment Theory used in  foster care supervision
Self-evaluation of the use of Attachment Theory components   <ul><li>Social workers consistently rated their ability to id...
Self evaluation of in practice  use of Attachment theory
Conclusion   <ul><li>The research indicates that the social workers did not have adequate knowledge of Attachment Theory t...
References <ul><ul><li>BOWLBY, J. 1969. Attachment and loss: Volume 1. Attachment. London: Hogarth Press. </li></ul></ul><...
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Attachment utilisation of social workers in foster care supervision services

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Attachment utilisation of social workers in foster care supervision services

  1. 1. THE UTILISATION OF ATTACHMENT THEORY BY SOCIAL WORKERS IN FOSTER CARE SUPERVISION By Wezet Botes & Dr Elma Ryke
  2. 2. Is attachment theory relevant to social work? <ul><ul><li>Children in foster care many times has experienced trauma which affected their ability to form attachments. (Harden, 2004:11; Howe et al., 1999:62; May, 2005:81) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>These placements are at risk pf collapse when an attachment between the child and foster parent doesn’t form successfully. (Green, 2003:209; Harden, 2004:35; Chamberlain et al, 2001) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Research in early 80’s indicated that factors associated to the social worker has a direct effect on the service to the foster family. Stone and Stone (1983) and Pardeck (1984), quoted by Chamberlain et al , (2001:201) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Attachment theory provides a way of understanding and addressing attachment between parent and child. (Bowlby, 1969) </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Central theoretical statement <ul><li>Haight et al., (2003) holds that ”understanding several aspects of attachment relationships can guide social workers to developmentally and culturally sensitive practice, as well as provide a foundation for recognising problems in attachment relationships”. </li></ul><ul><li>Social workers currently doing foster care supervision, employed at Child Welfare Tshwane, do not have adequate knowledge of Attachment Theory nor do they apply this knowledge in practice. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Methodology <ul><li>Quantitative-descriptive survey. </li></ul><ul><li>Self developed questionnaire administered over the telephone. </li></ul><ul><li>Non-probability purposive sampling method. </li></ul><ul><li>45% (32) of social workers at CWT work with foster care placements. 94% (17) were accessed for the study. </li></ul><ul><li>Reliability and validity: questionnaire developed in line with literature on AT, screened by an expert and then piloted, triangulation of variables within questionnaire. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Methodology <ul><li>Data was processed electronically on SPSS and Exell with support from the statistics department of North-West University and independent research psychologist . </li></ul><ul><li>Ethics: complied with the North-West University’s guidelines for ethical research. (Ethics Committee, reference number: NWU-00037-07-S7) along with permission from CWT to conduct the research. </li></ul><ul><li>Limitations: small sample size, restricted to one organisation some categories in sample was over represented (0-3 years exp). </li></ul>
  6. 6. Demographics <ul><li>Age: (n=17) mean 36. min-22, max-64 </li></ul><ul><li>Gender: all female. </li></ul><ul><li>Race: B-53%, C-6%, I-6%, W-35%. </li></ul><ul><li>Education: Undergrad-6%, Graduate-94%, Post-Grad- 24% =9Universities in SA. </li></ul><ul><li>Years experience SW: 0-3=59%, 4-6=6%, 7-9=6%, 10-12=12%, 12<=18. </li></ul><ul><li>Years experience FC:0-3=82% 4-6=12% 7-9=6% 10-12=0% 12<=0%. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Knowledge and use of theoretical components of Attachment Theory <ul><li>Theoretical components :Average knowledge of AT=24%, Average use of AT=20%. Low scores! </li></ul><ul><li>Selected various concepts associated to Attachment Theory and researched if they know/ use them in FC supervision. </li></ul><ul><li>Sources of knowledge: University SW=12%, University Psych=30%, P.Q. training=21%, In practice exp=35%. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Knowledge and use of theoretical components of Attachment Theory <ul><li>Cross reference experience with knowledge and use of AT: </li></ul><ul><li>Less experienced workers had some knowledge but much lower use of AT (26% K & 10% U) . </li></ul><ul><li>More experienced workers had greater knowledge and use of AT (48% K & 49% U) </li></ul>
  9. 9. Attachment Theory used in foster care supervision
  10. 10. Self-evaluation of the use of Attachment Theory components <ul><li>Social workers consistently rated their ability to identify and address attachment related issues higher as what their theoretical knowledge and use scores revealed. </li></ul><ul><li>Worrying that they report that they know how to identify a child’ s attachment pattern, but did not know what it was or could identify the different kinds of attachment patterns of AT earlier on in the questionnaire. </li></ul><ul><li>Most of the workers(71%) however reported that they have moved children out of an existing placement due to attachment problems. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Self evaluation of in practice use of Attachment theory
  12. 12. Conclusion <ul><li>The research indicates that the social workers did not have adequate knowledge of Attachment Theory to optimally utilise it within foster care supervision. </li></ul><ul><li>They had a ‘common sense’ approach to understanding and addressing attachment-related issues but lacked the theoretical knowledge to underscore their efforts to address the attachment between the foster parent and the child. </li></ul><ul><li>The generally low scores related to the theoretical components compared to the respondents’ higher scores of self-evaluation of their in-practice knowledge and use of Attachment Theory revealed that they are unable to identify and address the attachment needs of their clients. </li></ul><ul><li>It seemed that they were largely under a false impression of their actual ability to deal with attachment-related issues. These research results could indicate that the attachment-related needs of clients are, to a large extent, left unattended. </li></ul>
  13. 13. References <ul><ul><li>BOWLBY, J. 1969. Attachment and loss: Volume 1. Attachment. London: Hogarth Press. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>CHAMBERLAIN, P., SMITH, D.K., STORMSHAK, E. & BRIDGES-WHALEY, R. 2001. Placement Disruption in Treatment Foster Care. Journal of emotional and behavioural disorders , 9 (3):200-205. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>GREEN, V. 2003. Emotional Development in Psychoanalysis, Attachment Theory, and Neuroscience: Creating Connections. New York: Brunner-Routledge. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>HARDEN, B.J. 2004. Safety and Stability for Foster Children: A Developmental Perspective . The future of children , 14: 31-47. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>HOWE, D., BRANDON, M., HININGS, D. & SCHOFIELD, G. 1999. Attachment Theory, Child Maltreatment, and Family Support: A Practice and Assessment Model. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>HOWES, C. 1999. Attachment relationships in the context of multiple care givers. ( In CASSIDY, J. & SHAVER, P.R., eds . Handbook of attachment: Theory research and critical application. New York: Guildford Press. 671-687 p.) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>MAY, J.C. 2005. Family Attachment Narrative Therapy: healing the experience of early childhood maltreatment. Journal of marital and family therapy, 81-99, Jul. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>PARDECK, J.T. 1984. Multiple placements of children in foster family care: An empirical analysis. Social work , 29: 506-509. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>STONE, N. & STONE, S. 1983. The prediction of successful foster placement. Journal of contemporary social work , 1:11-17. </li></ul></ul>

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