chapter  19
11 Pages

Developing a ‘Responsible’ Foster Care Praxis: Poly as a Framework for Examining Power and Propriety in Family Contexts

ByDAMIEN W. RIGGS

In Australia, children who cannot live with their birth families due to issues of neglect and abuse are typically placed with foster carers who take on the role of primary caregivers, either for a limited amount of time (with the aim of the child returning to their birth family), or for the long term (where children live with foster carers until they come of age). As such, the family environment engendered within foster placements is often a signifi cant site in which children removed from their birth families learn to see the world, and from which they will develop many of their understandings about families, relationships and the values accorded to these. As foster families are no more outside of normative understandings of family than any other family form, it is important to consider how such normative understandings may negatively impact upon foster families, and how we may develop alternate modes of understanding families in ways that recognize the roles that both adults and children play in the construction of foster families.