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Meeting the increasing demand for foster care homes is well recognised internationally and in Australia as a continual challenge. Understanding the needs of foster carers and supporting them to undertake this important work is a key element of meeting this demand. Lorraine Thomson and Morag McArthur report on the reanalysis of data from a small study of former foster carers who ceased fostering between 2004 and 2007 in the Australian Capital Territory. Interviews with former carers about their experiences as foster carers revealed themes of loss and uncertainty that alerted researchers to the possibility that the theory of family boundary ambiguity and ambiguous loss may be useful in understanding foster caring experiences. It is suggested that these concepts warrant further exploration and research in the area of foster care. With sensitive application, they may assist foster families, former foster carers, foster care workers and policy makers to understand more fully and respond to some of the challenging experiences of foster caring.


Institute of Child Protection Studies

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Journal Article

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