Global perspectives on foster family care
Edited by Matthew Colton

The struggle to achieve the primary and unchanging aim of foster care - to care for abused, neglected and abandoned children from every race and culture, wherever they may be - can be assisted by facilitating a greater international sharing of problems, experiences and innovation.

This highly informative book offers insight into the philosophies, policies and practices of foster care systems in 10 diverse countries that span the world's continents and reflect global trends in foster family care: Argentina; China; France; India; Japan; Poland; South Africa; Sweden; United Kingdom; United States. They represent each of the major models of welfare systems and show wide differences with respect to racial mix, economic conditions, the value placed on ancestral ties, and the role of religion in social care.

The contributing authors from each of these countries all have considerable knowledge, experience and expertise in both the art and science of family foster care, in addition to their academic qualifications. They examine the relationships between:
  • each nation's cultural and religious traditions, its economic profile, the welfare model it adopts, its attitudes towards socially divisive forces such as race, poverty, age and gender, and the position of child abuse on its social agenda
  • the approach to child-care provision (child protection vs. family support), the foster care system, the legislative framework, training for professionals, and the extent and effects of research

  • As far as possible, the chapter on each country contains information and analysis written to a common format so as to encourage reflection and learning through comparison. Information is provided on the following: jurisdiction, politics, welfare ideology, history and origins of foster care, legal framework, service provision, major issues, messages from research, and future trends. These matters are considered from the perspectives of the rights of the child, the role of the family, the impacts of religion and the economy, globalisation and cultural diversity.

    Amongst the special themes explored are: the potential for the creation of diswelfare through the possible misapplication of generic concepts to diverse individuals and groups; the family as an agent of change; and how foster care in European countries compares with that of the United States.

    Large format paperback. 136 pages. 978-1-903855-88-1. 2006. £24.95.


    Argentina Maria Dezeo de Nicora
    China Robert Glover
    France Michel Corbillon
    India Najma Goriawalla & Kaumudi Telang
    Japan Kozo Iwasaki
    Poland Zofia Waleria Stelmaszuk
    South Africa Wilfried van Delft
    Sweden Ingrid Hojer
    United Kingdom Clive Sellick
    United States Judy Martin, Yvonne Unrau, Kathryn Wehrmann
    Overview and Conclusions Matthew Colton & Margaret Williams


    "A rare opportunity for cross-national comparison of different foster care systems, trends and issues… there is interesting information about individual systems as well as plenty of comparable material. Social policy and social work academics will find this book very useful as will practitioners who work with foster carers. But, most importantly, this international overview will provoke reflection on our own system at a time when there is a great deal of debate about the future of foster care in the UK." Children Now.

    "The title intrigued me and looking at the 10 nations selected for inclusion I wondered whether the issues affecting foster care in the UK would be universal. The standard format was useful in trying to make comparison and the sections on politics and ideology of each country. The editors' Overview and Commentary pulled the different countries together and succinctly looked at the similarities and differences of each country. For those like me grappling to think about the future ideology and structure of foster care in the UK, it was a useful reminder that we are not isolated and others are also considering the same issues. A useful read that took me out of my own comfort zone and helped me consider the wider issues of foster care around the world." Community Care.

    "The authors acknowledge the increasing complexity of the foster care task and the skills that carers need to employ to care for the children placed. This book gives us a broader vision of the issues we face in the UK as well as some of the areas for further work. I found it fascinating to read." Rostrum.

    "Enlightening and well informed." Adoption & Fostering.