"Nothing goes as planned": Practitioners reflect on matching children and foster families

Kirti Zeijlmans, Mónica López López, Hans Grietens, Erik J. Knorth

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7 Citations (Scopus)
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Matching children with foster carers is an important step in every nonkinship family foster care placement. Although guidelines for matching are provided in several studies, the case‐specific context of the decision can influence the practitioners' ability to adhere to these guidelines. Therefore, this study answers the following question: “How does the case‐specific context influence the
practitioners' decision‐making process regarding matching in family foster care?” Using a qualitative design, 20 semi-structured interviews were conducted with practitionersmatching children with foster families. Three themes emerged representing different layers of practitioners' everyday decisionmaking: matching as planned,matching being tailored, andmatching being compromised. The results show that exceptions are part of practitioners' daily work, either due to the belief that it might benefit those involved or because of obstacles presented during the decision‐making process. When the decision is compromised, matching practitioners lower their standards, while at the same time safeguarding the quality of the match. This proves that matching in practice is more than choosing a family, and guidelines are needed to determine what “good‐enough” matching should entail.
Original languageEnglish
Article number15
Pages (from-to)458-465
Number of pages8
JournalChild and Family Social Work
Issue number3
Early online date27-Feb-2018
Publication statusPublished - Aug-2018


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