Relationship to parents in adulthood with a background of out‐of‐home care in childhood

Gunvor Andersson - Child & Family Social Work


The longitudinal study started with children aged up to 4 who had been taken into care because of unacceptable living conditions and deficient parental care. After their initial stay in a children's home, the 26 children in the research group went on to have diverse placement histories throughout their childhood (up to age 18). The children have been divided into 4 subgroups in accordance with the length of time they lived with 1 of their parents or with foster parents. Relationships were 1 of the themes in the primary study as well as in all 8 rounds of follow‐up. This article is based on the 2 most recent rounds when the children had reached the ages of 25 to 30 and 35 to 39. A few of the interviewees talked about a close relationship to 1 of their parents, some had occasional contact, and many more had no contact at all, felt abandoned, or had decided to keep their parent(s) at a distance, not least out of consideration for their own children. The interviews showed that their adult relationship to and/or feelings for parents were still problematic and negatively affected their own well‐being, even if their parent(s) had died.