Session 9/15Page 8/10 A general view of professional care and attachment
A general view of professional care and attachment
Many children and youth in care are at high risk for developing insecure attachment patterns. They have experienced 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 foster family (for a handbook about how to work with severe attachment disorders, please see this book (available in many languages) www.attachment-disorder.net).
What can you do in your daily practice for these children, and what results can you expect?
You can never predict the development of the individual child, but in general the age of the child when placed is important. Studies of foster children show that if the child is younger than 24 months at placement, it will often change attachment pattern to that of the foster parent, resembling an adoption. Especially if it was not deprived much before placement, and with normal birth weight.
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 takes longer 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.