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School of Applied Social Sciences

SASS Staff

Publication details for Professor Simon Hackett

Masson, H., Hackett, S., Phillips, J. & Balfe, M. (2014). Looking back on the long-term fostering and adoption of children with harmful sexual behaviours: carers’ reflections on their experiences. British Journal of Social Work 44(8): 2200-2217.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

The experiences of carers of children and young people with harmful sexual behaviours have been the subject of little research to date. Consequently, and as part of a larger follow-up study, semi-structured interviews were conducted with nine adoptive or foster-carers who had had such children and young people placed with them during the 1990s. The looked after children were white and male and had come from troubled and often abusive backgrounds. Interviews, which were taped and transcribed, were thematically analysed. Eight themes emerged covering motivations; training and sources of support, information from and relationships with professionals; challenges; commitment and acceptance; managing risk and safety issues; advocacy or fighting the child's corner; the importance of male role models and managing birth contacts. The findings are discussed in relation to the more general literature on fostering and adoption available and the limitations of the current study in terms of, for example, sample size are made clear. Implications for practice include the importance of training and support, the need to recognise the particular role of male carers for this population, and the added value of including carers as respected and valued members of the professional team around the child.