Social Work and Foster Care

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Helen Cosis Brown & Keith Brown

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    Foreword

    During recent years there has been much public and media attention on childcare, in particular, the care and support of vulnerable children.

    Foster care is an important way in which society attempts to help very vulnerable children, and key to this being a positive and productive experience for the child are the foster parents. But behind the scenes is always a supervising social worker whose role starts with the assessment of prospective foster parents through to the supervision and support of foster carers.

    This new text by Helen Cosis Brown has been written to provide advice, support and guidance to all social workers working in – or aspiring to work in – this area of practice. As the author points out, this is an area that has previously received little academic reflection and, thus, this book is an important addition to the Post-Qualifying Social Work series.

    On behalf of all social workers working in the fostering field I wish to sincerely thank Helen for the wisdom, insight and expertise she has shared with us in the pages within – this text really is a tremendously important contribution.

    All the books in the Post-Qualifying Social Work series are written to inspire and support social work practice, with the ultimate aim of ensuring that vulnerable members of society experience the best possible social work service.

    This is another such text written to inspire quality social work practice and I am sure that it will motivate you in your professional practice.

    Professor Keith BrownDirector of the National Centre for Post-Qualifying Social Work, Bournemouth

    About the Author

    Helen Cosis Brown is a Professor of Social Work in the Institute of Applied Social Research at the University of Bedfordshire. She worked as a social worker and a social work manager in inner London for ten years before moving into social work education. She has managed social work programmes at the University of Hertfordshire, South Bank University and Middlesex University. She acts as an independent foster carer reviewing officer and chairs a local authority fostering panel. Her publications have included social work with lesbians and gay men as well as fostering and adoption. Her recent publications include: Brown, HC and Cocker, C (2011) Social Work with Lesbians and Gay Men. London: Sage, and Brown, HC (2011) Foster Carer Reviews: Process, Practicalities and Best Practice. London: BAAF. She sits on a Department of Education advisory panel evaluating multidimensional treatment foster care.

    Acknowledgements

    My thanks to the following people whose advice and knowledge have been invaluable: Kate Alibone, Sue Anderson, Maria Boffey, Sarah Borthwick, Christine Cocker, Elaine Dibben, Phyllis Elwood, Ena Fry, Wendy Gill, Hazel Halle, Joy Howard, Maureen Ingham, Alison King, Ravi Kohli, Jacqui Lawrence, Freda Lewis, Sarah Lewis-Brooke, Meral Mehmet, Frances Nicholson, Linda Norwood, Doreen Price, Ruth Richards, Jeremy Rosenblatt, Diana Searle, Philip Sutton, Alice Twaite, Philippa Williams and Lynn Woodhouse.

    I would like to acknowledge the help I have received from the following organisations: the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children's Library; the Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and London Fostering Network offices; and the Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and London BAAF offices.

    I want to acknowledge, and record, the excellent social work and foster care practice I have observed, and been engaged with, through my recent involvement with the following fostering services: Greater London Fostering, the London Borough of Bromley and the London Borough of Southwark. Being involved in different capacities with these three organisations has helped me learn from others, both social workers and foster carers, and develop my practice and thinking.

    Thanks also go to the panel members of the four fostering panels I have chaired since 1998, and the members of the current fostering panel I chair.

    I wish to acknowledge that the British Association for Adoption and Fostering gave permission for parts of Brown, HC (2011) Good Practice Guide to Foster Carer Reviews: Process, Practicalities and Best Practice, London: BAAF to be reproduced in this book. Learning Matters also gave permission for parts of Brown, HC (2011) ‘Foster care: learning from research and inquiries’, in C Cocker and L Allain (Eds), Advanced Social Work with Children and Families: A Post-qualifying Guide, Exeter: Learning Matters, pp89–104 to be reproduced in this book.

    Thanks also to Luke Block and Lauren Simpson from Sage/Learning Matters, and Caroline Watson from Swales & Willis, for their helpful support throughout the writing and publication process.

    Lastly, I want to note the support of my family: Rebecca Swift, Aaron Brown, Casey Ryan and Veronica Lussier.

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