Children in Foster Care need care to be saved from crime
Are children in Foster Care prone to crime?
- To establish that the children in foster care are abused, which necessitates measures of care to be taken to save them from such abuse.
- To examine the likelihood of the foster care children adopting a life of crime and wrongdoings.
- To identify the social needs, through which the children in foster care can be helped out, if the first two aims are established.
Background and Significance
The purpose of putting the children in foster care often stems from the need of protecting the children, particularly those, who have been treated wrongly by their birth families. Though, at times, the children who are under the foster care receive more harm than good (Johnson, 2005). This maltreatment of the kids in foster care has been studied in the past (Sanchez-Gomez, 2012). A focus was put on the response of the child welfare system to the reports of maltreatment by Carbino (1992; 1991), where she emphasized upon the requirement for the specific responses to the foster families as compared to the general population. The study conducted by McFadden and Ryan (1991) had a discussion over the incidence and nature of the children maltreatment in this system, which factored in the family and this welfare system for children actually contributed towards the maltreatment. An acknowledgement to the presence of abuse in foster care was given by Daly and Dowd (1992) and they even offered methods for producing an environment which was harm free for the children in foster care.
Hobbs, Hobbs, and Wynne (1999) conducted a research in Leeds, England for a period of six years during 1990-1995 with regards to the medical reports which depicted alleged sexual and/or physical abuse. They discovered that that the foster children were seven to eight times more likely to be assessed to be abused in comparison to a child belonging to general population. Similar study was conducted by Poertner, Bussey, and Fluke (1999) in Illinois and they produced the findings that the percentage of abuse and neglect for the children in foster care ranged from 1.7% to 2.3% over a period of five years from July 1992 to June 1997. In their study, Spencer and Knudsen (1992) found that through 1984 to 1990, the child perpetrators were indulged in six percent of the foster home cases. It was found that physical abuse was the most likely form of maltreatment in the foster care homes and the rate of physical abuse was 9.31 for each 1000 children. And this rate for sexual abuse was 5.23 (Tittle, Poertner and Garnier, 2017).
Children who grow up in such environment become prone to a range of risks, which increase their vulnerability towards both behavioral and the development problems (Cicchetti, 2016). The children have to face neglect, abuse, disrupted and dysfunctional family situations, and chronic poverty. Such problems predispose them to delinquency and juvenile conduct issues, which if not remedied, could persist in their adulthood and thus obstruct them in being productive humans (Loeber and Stouthamer-Loeber, 1986; Widom, 1989; Cunha, Heckman and Schennach, 2010). Nisenbaum (2013) believed that such children pose a major challenge for the providers of children welfare. And due to these challenges it is crucial that policy responses are developed and continued to deal with the complex treatment requirement of such kids who have been placed under the foster care, and also the need to evaluate the services which already exist.
The use of foster care has increased manifolds in the recent years in the Western nations. For instance, in US, from 1985 to 1999, the foster care cases were increased by more than double, from being at 276,000 to being at 568,000 (Swann and Sylvester, 2006). It was estimated that for 2006, 3.6 million of the children in US, were in contact with Child Protective Services and a high range of them were placed in foster care (Berger et al., 2009). From 1980 to 2012, in Sweden, the number of cases in foster care increased from 14,000 to 29,600. However, the literature with regards to the empirical policies has not kept pace with regards to the tendency of such children falling in criminal line (Lindquist and Santavirta, 2014).
A noteworthy study which linked the criminality with the abuses which the children face in foster care was carried by Lindquist and Santavirta (2014), where they held that there was a higher adult criminality for the males who were placed in the foster care between the ages of 13 to 18. Though, this association was absent for the boys who were placed in the foster care before they reached 13 and this link was entirely absent for the girls, irrespective of their age. In the study conducted by McHugh (2013), it was revealed that in Australia, the placement of Aboriginal children proved to be a difficult task.
Methodology and Methods
This section denotes the approach which would be taken to undertake the study, so as to attain the aims established. The design of this research would be exploratory qualitative study, where the question of this research would be explored upon and a conclusive result would be reached at. And due to the same being an exploratory research, the aims are open to not being attained or the direction of the research being changed, due to new insights and new data revelation. Further the approach of this research is inductive approach, where the research question has been formed at the very beginning of the research and the same is concentrated about finding if the children who are in foster care are prone to crime on them and consequently, indulge in the line of crime. The research philosophy of would be based on phenomenology, as this study necessitates that the subjective human interests are taken into account and that instead of hard data, the human interests are relied upon.
The research method for this study would involve two separate methods. So, the data would be collected on the basis of both primary and secondary data. In other words, the first method would be the data collection and data analysis, so the data would be collected through questionnaires, interviews and the like. And the second method would be an analysis of the material which has already been published, for instance, newspapers, journals, online portals, books and magazines.
For the purpose of this study, interviews would be undertaken with the children in foster care, the foster care providers, the volunteers, and the authorities. This would help in gaining a qualitative insight to the problem which is being raised through this side. This would be in addition to a questionnaire, which would have to be filled by same group of people out of which some were selected for the interview. Based on the data collected from here, a decision would be reached which could be in conformity with the aims or may prove them wrong.
The interview which would be scheduled would cover a range of topics and would take place at common grounds, like school, hospital or the like. The interview would be initiated by asking about how the children reached into their care and would then move towards a range of open ended questions. This would help in attaining such details which are present practically. And in order to ensure that details are given properly, throughout the interview, the person being interviewed would be comforted and assured that the data would be safe and that their names or other details would not be revealed. Prompts would also be used in the interview so as to gain responses. Some of the areas which would be included in both the interview and the questionnaire include the relationship in the family and the arrangement for access or contact; the financial support; services and support with regards to the health and education of the children; and issues with regards to the Aboriginal foster carers.
Before the interview is conducted, the children specially would be counseled by an expert counselor, who can detect cases of abuses and provide the necessary comfort to the children, so that they can open up about the if they have been abused and the manner in which it took place, along with it frequency. They would not only be asked about their abuses, but the abuses which are common in their friend circle and in their neighborhood. This would enable the collection of data in such a manner where even if a particular child is unable to tell their own issues, they can use the name of a person in neighborhood and portray their issues; or might actually raise a genuine problem in the neighborhood or in their friend circle. The questionnaire for the children would be confidential so that their anonymity is maintained.
The data collection through exploratory qualitative study would not be the only aspect undertaken under this study. A literature review would also be conducted in this regard where the preexisting literature will be evaluated. The literature of different time periods would be analyzed to examine the changes in the patters of this problem. Further, the literature would not be restricted to Australia, but would cover the same across the globe, so as to gain an understanding to this being a far reaching problem. However, a specific emphasis would be made at the foster care system of Australia, so as to conduct a research which is related to the nation and can help in identifying the position of the nation in this regard, in comparison to the nations across the globe. The source for literature review would be a mix of journal articles, newspapers, magazines, books and even the online articles placed by leading academicians.
For the interviews, ten of each would be interviewed, i.e., children in foster care, the foster care providers, and the volunteers; however, for the authorities, the number would be twenty. The volunteers would be personally interviewed by the research conductor, i.e., by me. The foster care providers would be interview by the research conductor and a volunteer, who has not been included in this study. The children in foster care would be interviewed by the research conductor and a counselor so as to enable a free flow of information. The authorities would solely be interviewed by the research conductor would contain a mix of health care professionals, police officers, and the foster care authorities of the particular region. So, the interview would be conducted for a total of 50 people.
The questionnaire would be drawn in both online and offline form, to enable ease of access. The questionnaire would be simple, so that it can be easily filled and the foster care children would be provided with help for filling out the questionnaire, away from their foster parents. The sample size for the questionnaire would be the same as interview. Though, for this purpose, the people who were interviewed would not be repeated.
A range of data would be analyzed for the literature review, and there would be no restrictions with regards to the dates of the data collected. This is to enable the analyzing of the literatures, which would help in giving a historical background to this problem, along with its present day standing. Moreover, the data would not be limited to Australia, but to the nations across the globe, especially the developed nations.
The most important part of any research is the ethical considerations associated with it. The ten principles of ethical considerations which have been given by Bryman and Bell (2007) would be adopted for the purpose of research. Accordingly, it would be ensured that the participants of this research are not subjected to any harm in any manner. The dignity of the participants of this research would be respected and this would be the top priority. The full consent of the participants of this research would be obtained. The data which is collected from the participants of this research would be protected and the privacy of the same would be maintained. Along with this, it would be ensured that an adequate level of confidentiality has been maintained. It would also be ensured that the participants of this research are allowed to maintain their anonymity, whether they are the authorities or the foster care children. It would also be kept in mind that no exaggeration or deception of the data, objectives or aims of this research has been undertaken. All the communications which are undertaken for the purpose of this research would be done in a transparent and honest manner. And any such information which is misleading or gives a false representation of the data collected would be avoided, along with any prejudice or biasness to the data or towards the participants of this research.
It would be ensured that there is a voluntary participation of the participants of this research. Further, any unacceptable, derogatory, discriminatory, or offensive language would be avoided at all costs during the interviews and even in the questionnaire. Most importantly, it would be ensured that the highest level of objectively is maintained throughout this research and that the emotions are not allowed to cloud the conducting of this research.
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