• Attachment Theory: Developments, Debates and Recent Applications in Social Work, Social Care and Education

      Harlow, Elizabeth; University of Chester
      Attachment theory may be considered controversial given that some of its foundational principles are contested. Not only this, it is currently being developed by insights from neuroscience, another perspective that academics have subjected to critique. Nevertheless, at the beginning of the twenty-first century in England and the United Kingdom in general, there has been a renewed interest in its explanation of child development, as well as its application in schools, social care settings and the practice of professionals such as social workers and teachers. This paper outlines the core principles of attachment theory, acknowledges some of the criticisms, then traces the ways in which the theory has been developed over time. The theory is then illustrated with a description of the ways in which it is being applied in the training of foster carers, the provision of support to adoptive parents and in the school environment.
    • Defining the problem and sourcing the solution: a reflection on some of the organizational, professional and emotional complexities of accessing post-adoption support.

      Harlow, Elizabeth; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2018-05-16)
      In the United Kingdom as elsewhere, children across the age range are now being adopted from care. Some of these children, by no means all, are expressing additional physical, emotional, behavioural and educational needs. In consequence, the government has introduced legislation and attendant policies aimed at providing adoptive families with support. In 2013 in the northwest of England, a specialist post-adoption support service was established, and an illuminative evaluation of its organization and provision was conducted. A key theme emerging from the qualitative data concerned the difficulties parents had encountered in accessing appropriate support prior to the creation of the service. These difficulties have been interpreted as: uncertainty in defining the problems encountered and knowing which agencies and professionals to approach; ambivalence about seeking help; professionals’ uncertainty in knowing how to respond; and the scarcity of resources. This paper illustrates these difficulties, then draws attention to some of the ways in which they are being addressed.