Journal of Social Service Research
Taylor & Francis
School of Arts and Humanities
Fachbezogene Partnerschaften mit Entwicklungsländern (DAAD Project-ID: 57448165)
Informal foster care remains the preferred alternative care option for children in many parts of the world. However, the processes of reunification in informal foster care are largely unknown. This qualitative study sought to explore the reunification processes within informal foster care in Ghana to inform child protection services for better program design for such children. Twenty interviews were conducted with reunified fostered children and their biological parents. Data from the in-depth interviews with parents and children were analyzed thematically. Three main processes of reunification were identified in this study namely; open, flexible exit plans and educational threshold arrangements. The findings show that reunification pathways are informed by the factors that informed the placement. A model of reunification, based on the study findings has been suggested to guide further studies. Child protection workers should utilize the reunification model as a framework to design services for children who are reunified in informal foster care. Researchers could also utilize the reunification model as a tool to study the outcomes for children who have been reunified. Further research should also explore measures and mechanism that are needed to integrate best practices of the informal foster care processes within the formal child protection domain.
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