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'Keeping connected in care' the social networks of young people who have experience of long-term foster care / [PhD Thesis] by Conor McMahon
McMahon, Conor
The present study investigates the social network experience of a group of young people who have experience of long-term foster care. The study area is the North West area of the HSE-West and the study group is composed of two groups of young people: a group who are currently in care and a group who have left the 3 care system. The research focussed on the following issues: the composition of the young people’s social networks, the significance and importance of the individuals and groups within the social network to the young people, and the connection between foster care and the social network experience of the study group. The central focus is to examine the impact of Foster Care on the social network experience of the young people. The study utilised both qualitative and quantitative methods in it’s approach and can be described as qualitative dominant mixed methods research, with the use of a qualitative semi-structured interview being supported by two standardised measures. Findings from the study included: the smaller network size for the Left Care group; the greater significance of birth family to the left Care group; the greater importance of formal supports to the Left Care group; current involvement in organised groups and activities being more significant for the In-Care group; low numbers of people from the study group’s local community (who were not part of either their birth or foster family and peer network) identified; and, the significance of foster parents, friends and birth siblings in terms of support to the young people. Findings indicated that Foster Care impacts on the young people’s social network experience in the following ways: losing contact with extended family; a greater challenge in making and sustaining friendships; an impact on education; and, an inability to maintain contact with groups and activities that are of significance. Recommendations are made in relation to Policy and Practice, including the raising of awareness of the importance of a social network approach in working with young people with care experience.
Publication Date:
Type: Doctoral thesis
Peer-Reviewed: Unknown
Language(s): English
Institution: Lenus
Publisher(s): School of Political Science and Sociology. National University of Ireland, Galway.
Supervisor(s): Health Service Executive (HSE) West, Sligo
First Indexed: 2014-04-02 06:13:32 Last Updated: 2017-04-26 08:24:33