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Residential social workers' perspectives on the placements of hard-to-place children
Out-of-home placement is the last resort of child protection, especially the residential care. In practice, some children were placed owing to the child maltreatment. However, because of the special needs and annoying behavior problems, the children were often rejected. Therefore, becoming “hard-to-placed child” not only has less choice, but also has to face more than one time replacement. The purpose of the study is to understand the phenomenon of hard-to-placed child, as well as how the residential social workers perceive and serve these children. The study used purposive sampling, interviewing 7 social workers, who work in the residential care and have the experiences with the hard-to-placed children. The findings were revealed as followed: 1.The image of hard-to-placed child: Hard-to-placed child can be categorized into three types. One is the physically and developmentally disabled children. Another is the children with severely emotional disturbance and have difficulties making connections with peers. The last one is the children with anti-social behavior problems. All of the three types have some characteristics in common. First, they both lack of security and hard to trust people. Second, their mood changed dramatically and easy to burst out negatively. Third, they often have low self-esteem and motivation of learning. 2.The treatment of hard-to-placed child: The treatment can be divided into normal treatment and the treatment toward hard-to-placed children. The former include providing the stable and formal live structure, discussing the future plans with children, and increasing the frequency of visits with family members. The latter include enhancing the children’s sense of self-worth, helping children to express themselves consciously, and using different resources to help children. 3.The difficulties of treatment and the strategy of coping: The difficulties include the negative influence to social workers, the communication problems between social worker and daily-life guidance personnel, the collaborate difficulties between social workers of residential care and government social workers, the rigid management of organization, and the inadequate resources of placement system. To solve the above problems, social workers take strategies like adjust, take more trainings, communicate more, and arrange formal case conference with government social workers. 4.The anticipation of social workers toward the placement system: social workers need more trainings of trauma-informed treatment, government should pay more attention on the work of care, which means to regulate appropriate care ratio, and provide adequate wage as well as recruit enough daily-life guidance personnel. In addition, government should formulate the limit of caseload, so that the government social workers have more time to pay close attention to hard-to-placed children. For the placement system, because the placement types exist currently don’t match the demands. Children placed should be categorized, and the types of placement should expand diversely. In education system, it is important to transit individually. Results are discussed according to the implications for treatment of hard-to-placed children. Recommendations for policy, practice, and future research are offered as well.
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