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Week 6 - FAD 3432 Chapter 7 Boundary Ambiguity/Foster Care...

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FAD 3432 Chapter 7: Boundary Ambiguity/Foster Care I. Introduction a. Each year child protective services systems receive million of reports of suspected child abuse and neglect. b. CPS investigates the reports and makes decisions about the types of action to be taken. i. 60% of the cases are deemed at-risk and offered post investigative services including in-home therapy, substance abuse treatment, or temporary removal of the children from the home. c. Little is known about how parents perceive their experiences with CPS and their coping techniques. i. Parents are generally dissatisfied. II. Theoretical Frameworks a. Ambiguous Loss and Boundary Ambiguity i. According to Boss, ambiguous loss is “the ultimate stressor for families.” 1. Because it results in boundary ambiguity. 2. Boundary ambiguity is a risk factor for individual and family level problems. ii. The two types of boundary ambiguity often overlap. iii. The higher the boundary ambiguity in the family after the loss, the greater the likelihood of dysfunction. 1. This is often the case in situations with CPS. 2. Leathers found loyalty conflicts experienced by children in the foster care system were similar to characteristics described conceptually as boundary ambiguity. b. The Intersections of Attachment, Family Functioning, Ambiguous Loss, and Boundary Ambiguity i. Attachment theorists assert that attachment behaviors persist throughout life and are important in influencing future relationships. 1. These theorists say that this should be considered when working with families in the foster care system.
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ii. In the boundary ambiguity literature, the attachment of family members before a traumatic event is an important aspect in understanding the resiliency of the family. 1. Family members that are closely attached before the event suffer a trauma “greater than death” when they experience ambiguous loss. a. Can lead to anxious attachment style. iii. One way that families may build resilience when faced with ambiguity is by reconstructing the meaning of the family system. 1. Helps unblock emotion 2. Gives emotional mobility to members 3. Allows the individual to form attachment to the remaining members of the family. iv. Family functioning is another important concept in foster care research. 1. Families involved in foster care are a heterogeneous group, exhibiting different family functioning abilities. 2. Improvement of family functioning is correlated with positive foster care outcomes. v. Families vary in their tolerance for ambiguity. 1. Resilience factors include family coping skills, stress management, and decision making abilities. vi. Boss suggests that perceptions of boundary ambiguity may help explain resilience in the aftermath of loss. III. Method a. Research Aims i. Study involved the analysis of interviews obtained from 22 at-risk families.
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