Until recently, Flemish family foster care was a temporary measure with as its most important goal, the reunification of the foster child with the birth parents. To date, nothing is known on the number of reunifications, nor has any study been undertaken into the factors (child, parent, foster parent and foster care process) associated with reunification. Case files of 127 foster children who exited foster care in 2007 were analysed. Dependent variables were type of foster care placement outcome (reunification, successful placement without reunification or breakdown) and place of residence after placement ending (with birth parents, extended family, foster family, residential care or living independently). After placement ending, only 40% of foster children went living with their parents, including foster children who were reunified (26%) and foster children who moved to their parents after a placement breakdown (14%). Characteristics of the foster children, and in particular absence of problem behaviour, were associated mainly with a return home. This may indicate that too much attention is paid to the functioning of the foster child and too little to improving the competencies of the parents and the (future) home environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-514
Number of pages12
JournalChild and Family Social Work
Issue number1
Early online date25 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017

    Research areas

  • foster care, outcomes, reunification

ID: 16096930