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Updated sections on size of foster care populations, types of substitute care, characteristics of foster care children, length of time in care and number of placements with 2011 statistics.

Updated on 01 Oct 2013. The previous version of this content can be found here.
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date: 15 December 2017

Abstract and Keywords

Social work has long been involved in child foster care. Though its initial involvement de-emphasized the importance of infant–caregiver attachment, Bowlby’s theory of attachment is particularly relevant for child-welfare practice. This entry chronicles the history of child foster care and describes the evolution of legislation most pertinent for the provision of foster care. The characteristics of children in foster care since 2000 and the dynamic flow of children entering and exiting care are described. A brief account of foster care services and future trends in the field are highlighted.

Keywords: children, child-welfare services, family foster care, foster care

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