Attachment and Foster Care Research

I enjoy reading relevant research.  I came across an article in the Infant Mental Health Journal titled “Foster Parents’ State of Mind With Respect to Attachment: Concordance with Their Foster Children’s Attachment Patterns at 2 and 3 Years of Age”.  Wordy title…but of course I had to read it! Here’s what I learned:

  • Children with aversive caregiving experiences are at higher risk of abnormal neuroendocrine activity, behavior problems, reduced intellectual development, and attachment challenges. 
  • Infants need an emotionally committed caregiver if they are to develop in a healthy way
  • Children with sensitive and nurturing caregivers develop a sense of self that tells them they are worthy of love and that their caregivers can be trusted
  • It has been found that a parent’s state of mind with respect to attachment has been shown to be a good predictor of the child’s attachment type
  • Children placed before the age of two have better chances of developing secure attachments; children placed at an older age can have difficulties expressing their needs for soothing which can impede the foster parent understanding how to meet their needs
  • Foster parents tend to have healthier attachment styles which may be due to: their lower life stress, stable financial situation, a willingness to attach, and the screening and training process
  • The research found that the majority of foster children were able to develop healthy attachments to their foster parents 
  • Findings indicate that foster care licensing agencies should evaluate foster parents attachment styles and children should be placed with foster parents who display healthy attachment styles

I found this to be highly encouraging and hope that it will guide new parents to evaluate their parenting and attachment styles.


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