PROCESSES OF FOSTER CARE FOR CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS
Learning outcomes of the course unit
The main objective of the course is to implement students’ competences in facing the psychological problems affecting children and adolescents who are victims of maltreatment, abuses, separations or losses. In particular, at the end of the course the student will be able to:
• treat the different cases of children in need within the framework of Italian legislations;
• analyze the emotions and difficulties of the minors, the operators, the foster families and the biological families;
• project intervention for children’s protection and care, by considering the risk factors and the human and material resources that can have a protection function;
• evaluate such interventions in terms of the possibility they have to produce a change in the minors and their families.
Course contents summary
The course is focused around the issue of social parenthood, which is at work when children or adolescents, who are victims of maltreatment or have experienced a loss, need the care of foster families. At the light of the Italian legislative and normative framework that protects minors, the course will highlight the emotions and cognitions of children, adults, operators and families. The theoretical perspective is in line with a system approach, which emphasizes the fact that every process concerning a child is intertwined with those of the adult caregivers. The course will present the contribution of attachment theory and research, and will describe the various interventions aimed at offering a safe base to the children in need. In the last part of the course, students will have the opportunity to discuss the major problems that can be encountered in the social practice, such as the difficulties in listening to the children’s stories, the role of the educational équipe, the evaluation of fostering families.
The textbook for all students is:
Schofield, G., Beek, M. (2013). Adozione, affido, accoglienza. Milano, Cortina editore.
The students who attend the lessons will be assigned an additional program.
The program for the students who do not attend the course will comprise the textbook and three scientific articles (in English) presenting studies on the topics of child protection, foster care or adoption.
The course will be conducted through different teaching methodologies:
• frontal lessons
• discussion of clinical material
• interventions’ projects
• presentation of the services for minors that are active in the province of Parma
• interviews to the operators or other privileged witnesses
Assessment methods and criteria
The exam will be written (on the text book) and oral (on the scientific articles selected by each candidate). The written exam will be based on two open questions that will be evaluated for their precision and reflection skills. The oral part will improve or reduce the final mark of a maximum of 2 points.