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Session 9/15

Page 8/10 A general view of professional care and attachment

A general view of professional care and attachment


Children with no or little contact to their parents are at high risk for developing adverse and insecure attachment patterns. They have a loss of contact with biological parents, many early changes in caregivers, and often many changes in caregivers during the day. They have often been exposed to maltreatment or deprivation before entering the institution or foster family (for further knowledge about treatment, please see this book about treatment translated into many languages www.attachment-disorder.net).

What can you do in your professional practice for these children, and what results can you expect?
This probably depends much on the age of the child when placed in professional care. Studies of foster children show that if the child is younger than 20 months at placement, it will change attachment pattern to that of the professional caregiver, if the child stays in this person’s care most of its waking hours.
This means that if you practice secure care giving, the child may apprehend a healthy attachment.

With children who are older when you receive them in care, it is more difficult to make a basic change in attachment behaviour, so you should be more patient, and to some extent accept that this child needs extra help in order to function (for further knowledge see some of the publications by Mary Dozier, Delaware University at www.psych.udel.edu/people/detail/mary_dozier).