In Italy, family fostering is in most cases a voluntary service where foster parents are nonprofessional helpers. About half of the foster parents are couples with children of their own, which makes fostering a “family enterprise.” Within growing attention to children’s voices in research, the paper focuses on children living foster care (as children in care and as foster parents’ children) and the ways they engage in constructing their family landscape. So far, the point of view of the two groups has been considered separately. Although their life trajectories are highly specific, a cross-cutting perspective on family involving the two groups of children can offer new insights on their experiences of family construction and belonging. Starting from a conceptual framework that sees kinship and family as emerging from practices where family actors—including children—are actively engaged, the article presents the main results of interview research involving 69 children and youth who currently live in foster families in Italy, as children in care and as biological children of the foster parents. The results highlight the intense work children do in constructing and naming family ties, in displaying their family in social contexts, and in learning about themselves, the family, and their multiple belongings throughout foster care.

Rethinking “the family” in foster care in Italy: The perspective of children in care and of foster parents’ children.

Chiara Sità
Conceptualization
;
Luigina Mortari
2022-01-01

Abstract

In Italy, family fostering is in most cases a voluntary service where foster parents are nonprofessional helpers. About half of the foster parents are couples with children of their own, which makes fostering a “family enterprise.” Within growing attention to children’s voices in research, the paper focuses on children living foster care (as children in care and as foster parents’ children) and the ways they engage in constructing their family landscape. So far, the point of view of the two groups has been considered separately. Although their life trajectories are highly specific, a cross-cutting perspective on family involving the two groups of children can offer new insights on their experiences of family construction and belonging. Starting from a conceptual framework that sees kinship and family as emerging from practices where family actors—including children—are actively engaged, the article presents the main results of interview research involving 69 children and youth who currently live in foster families in Italy, as children in care and as biological children of the foster parents. The results highlight the intense work children do in constructing and naming family ties, in displaying their family in social contexts, and in learning about themselves, the family, and their multiple belongings throughout foster care.
children’s voices, family belongings, foster care
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/1067683
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