What is it about?

Children and young people in care stay in touch with their families through what is called contact. Contact can take the form of face-to-face meeting, telephone calls or letters. Contact is usually organised by social workers and supported by foster carers. The paper makes the central argument that a hidden feature of contact is the power exercised by social workers and foster carers. This power is now becoming much more transparent as children and young people in care make use of their mobile phones and the Internet to stay in touch with their families.

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Why is it important?

The paper is important because it highlights that power has always been a feature of contact, and this is likely to continue unless foster carers and social workers are given support and guidance that will enable to children and young people in care to use their mobile phones and the Internet for contact.

Perspectives

This article hopefully begins a debate about how social work practitioners and foster carers can work with children and young people to stay in touch with members of their family in a way that is both safe and supportive.

Miss Jennifer E Simpson
University of Northampton

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: A brief history of contact in fostering and adoption: practice and power, and the coming of the mobile phone, Adoption & Fostering, September 2020, SAGE Publications, DOI: 10.1177/0308575920945173.
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