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Goldstein, J. (1975). Why Foster Care—For Whom for How Long?. Psychoanal. St. Child, 30:647-662.

(1975). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 30:647-662

Why Foster Care—For Whom for How Long?

Joseph Goldstein, Ph.D.

THIS ESSAY SEEKS TO CLARIFY THE PURPOSES OF PLACING A CHILD IN foster care. It examines two court decisions which came to opposite conclusions concerning the law and administration of foster placements. Both cases illustrate how foster care law and its administration fail to foster continuity of relationships between child and parents from whom the child is separated and between those parents and their absent child. That continuity is necessary to facilitate the resumption of temporarily interrupted family relationships. Each case, in its own way, demonstrates how "temporary" separations in foster care become permanent without fostering the development of permanent relationships between such children and their caretakers. Further, through multiple placements for a single child, foster care has come to be employed to keep a child "familyless" for the duration of his or her childhood. The two cases will be analyzed in terms of the guidelines for decision set forth in Beyond the Best Interests of the Child(Goldstein, A. Freud, and Solnit, 1973).

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