Attachment of young foster children.

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Family foster care is the option of choice in case of out-of-home placements in Flanders, resulting in rising numbers of family foster care placements. As a number of the foster children experienced traumatic events and all of them were separated from their primary caregivers, concerns can be raised about the quality of attachment between foster children and their foster carers. Additionally, international research regarding associated factors with attachment quality is scarce and inconclusive and to our knowledge, Flemish research into this matter was non-existent. The sample of this research consisted out of 68 young foster children and their foster mothers. The attachment behavior was scored by the foster mothers on the Attachment Insecurity Screening Index. The mean for the total Attachment Insecurity Screening Index was non-clinical, but significantly higher than the mean of the norm group, this points to foster mothers perceiving more insecure attachment behavior in the relationship with their foster children. The rates for insecure attachment were comparable to the regular population. Parenting stress and problem behavior were positively associated with insecure attachment scores and, negatively with self-reported sensitivity of foster mothers. These factors were entered in a multiple linear regression model. This model shows that higher levels of parenting stress and more behavior problems were associated with higher insecure attachment scores. We recommend to pay sufficient attention to the attachment relationship of foster children and their foster carers, parenting stress and behavior problems by monitoring them regularly and providing additional support and interventions when these are indicated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)270-287
Number of pages18
JournalDevelopmental Child Welfare
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

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