Child resilience in out-of-home care: Child welfare worker perspectives

Journal article
Canadian CW research
Authors

Bell, Tessa
Romano, Elisa

Source
Children and Youth Services Review, 48, 49-59
Abstract

The study of resilience and its associated factors is highly applicable to the child welfare population as children living in out-of-home care have often experienced much adversity and are particularly vulnerable to the development of problems in numerous domains of functioning. The use of qualitative research in this area is scarce, and the majority of such studies have been based on the U.K. or U.S. child welfare systems. Therefore, the goal of the current study was to gain child welfare workers' perspectives on resilience and to explore the factors that they believe might influence resilience. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 11 child welfare workers from Ontario (Canada) to accomplish this goal. The interview was developed using an ecological perspective that inquired about possible sources of resilience from within children themselves, their family, their community, and the child welfare worker and agency. The workers identified a number of factors associated with resilience (e.g., child intelligence, worker communication skills); however, the critical importance of a child's relationships and social support from others underpinned all factors discussed. The findings highlight the importance of including the perspectives of all those involved in the child welfare system in assessing the well-being of children in out-of-home care. In addition, the dynamic interrelationships between the various levels of the ecological model and how these can impact on how a child is doing in out-of-home care were highlighted.

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