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Ruff, S. Baron, J. (2012). Fostering Relationships with Children Who are “Too Much to Handle”. J. Infant Child Adolesc. Psychother., 11(4):387-399.

(2012). Journal of Infant, Child & Adolescent Psychotherapy, 11(4):387-399

Fostering Relationships with Children Who are “Too Much to Handle”

Saralyn Ruff and Julia Baron

Parenting yields unique challenges for adolescent-aged foster youth. Given their age, past trauma, lack of social support, and lack of resources, foster youth are at increased risk for mental health problems, substance abuse, and homelessness compared with nonfoster youth. Many pregnant and parenting adolescent-aged foster youth are at high risk for perpetuating the same dynamics that they themselves experienced, specifically of having their children placed in foster care. This intergenerational trauma cycle will likely continue without interventions focused on the psychological, emotional, developmental, and social experiences of both parents and children. Moreover, interventions must also focus on those implementing the interventions and working with these youth. Staff working with foster youth have high burnout and turnover rates, resulting in inconsistent service provision and disrupted relationships for the youth. Fostering Relationships is a free, theory-based resource that works toward addressing the aforementioned challenges by promoting the development of healthy relationships between foster youth and staff, and between foster youth and their children. This paper uses a case example, a review of the literature, and discussion of underlying theory to detail the need for relationship-focused intervention and the benefits of fostering relationships in supporting staff and pregnant and parenting foster youth.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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