The utilisation of attachment theory by social workers in foster care supervision
Attachment Theory and its practical application have re-emerged in recent years as a critical factor in understanding and determining the quality of relationships between the primary caregiver and the child. The reasons for disruptions in foster care placements have also been linked to problems with attachment. Foster care, in turn, has also become more prominent as a placement option in South Africa as we try to deal with the effect of HIV and AIDS on our communities. It would seem that the latest development in the application of Attachment Theory has specific value in assessing, developing and supervising the relationships in out-of-home care such as foster care placements. In this study the knowledge and application of some of the theoretical components and Attachment Theory of the social workers of Child Welfare Tshwane and their perceptions of their in-practice use thereof were explored. The results suggest that although the social workers knew that the quality of the relationship between the foster parents and the child is predictive of the success of the placement, they lacked the basic knowledge and skill to effectively attend to the attachment between foster parent and child. It seemed that they took more of a common sense approach towards understanding and addressing the attachment between the foster parent and the child. The research indicated that they do not have a sufficient grounding in Attachment Theory to be able to provide effective intervention regarding attachment-based concerns within the foster care context. The results indicate that there is a need to better equip social workers to deal with attachment-related issues they would routinely encounter when doing foster care supervision.
- Humanities