Guidance for Foster Families or How to Decrease Risks of Secondary Abandonement

Guidance for Foster Families or How to Decrease Risks of Secondary Abandonement

Bezrukova O.N.

Cand. Sci. (Sociol.), Acting Head of the Department of youth sociology and youth policy, Saint Petersburg State University. Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Samoilova V.А.

Cand. Sci (Psychol.), Assoc. Prof., Saint-Petersburg State University, Saint-Petersburg, Russia

ID of the Article:

This research was supported by INPO «Parent Center “Podsolnukh”» (2016).

For citation:

Bezrukova O.N., Samoilova V.А. Guidance for Foster Families or How to Decrease Risks of Secondary Abandonement. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2019. No 1. P. 85-95


The article analyses the needs of foster families in terms of social support, the typical issues that reduce access to qualified care, and proposals to improve guidance at all stages of adoptive parenthood to prevent secondary failures in adoption. The research base includes data on focus groups of 36 parents and 29 industry experts as well as in-depth interviews with two adopted children conducted in 2016. We consider guidance for foster families as a set of interagency measures to ensure efficient assistance to families at all stages of foster parenting. We broke down substitute families into categories based on following criteria: child’s temporary vs. permanent residence in a family; complete vs shared with the state responsibility; parenthood as formal vs informal employment; paid vs non-paid child care; and professional vs non-professional parents. We cover legal, administrative, informational, staffing as well as professional and cultural barriers that prevent from getting qualified guidance. We formulate main principles of guidance as follows: qualitative assessment of candidates for foster parents; combination of mandatory and voluntary guidance; monitoring of changes; focus on parents, children, and child/parent relations; comprehensive, interdisciplinary and interagency approaches; successive guidance at all stages of adoptive parenting; differentiated and individual approach to families; network approach and the principle of digital environment development. We make a conclusion that implementation of such guidance will help prevent cases of secondary abandonment.

foster family; foster parenting; children left without parental care; secondary abandonment of a child; guidance for foster families


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Content No 1, 2019