Young children returning home from care: The birth parents' perspective

Montserrat Fargas Malet, Dominic Mc Sherry, Emma Larkin, Greg Kelly, Clive Robinson, Dirk Schubotz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


While a wide range of literature exists on the experiences of children in foster care or adoption, much less is known about children who return home from care to their birth parents. This paper focuses on the perspectives of a small sample of birth parents of young children who returned home from care. It draws on findings from the Northern Ireland Care Pathways and Outcomes Study that has been following a population (n = 374) of children who were under 5 years and in care in Northern Ireland on the 31st of March 2000. As part of this study, interviews were conducted with the foster parents of 55 children, the adoptive parents of 51 children and the birth parents of nine children who had returned home from care. The paper explores the birth parents’ views on how they coped while their child was in care, how they were coping after the child had returned home and how their child was faring at home. Results revealed that these parents, and their children, were experiencing multiple difficulties and struggled to cope after the children had returned home.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-86
Number of pages10
JournalChild and Family Social Work
Issue number1
Early online date5 Jan 2010
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Feb 2010


  • Return home
  • Rehabilitation
  • Care
  • Care Order
  • Birth parents


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