Foster care and adoption are two main alternative options of childcare and represent forms of child and family centered social work practice, widespread used in all human societies around the world when parents are unable or unwilling to care for their offspring. The functions and outcomes of these two forms of child care have evolved and are practiced differently in varied cultures today.
The current volume of the Social Work Review is mainly focused on the issues in family foster care and children adoption, but is also includes approaches to current innovative topics, more or less related to them. In order to answer as many questions of great interest to social workers, this issue of the Journal brings together both theoretical articles and empirical studies, of relevance to social work policy and practice. The topic of adoptions, far from being exhausted, is addressed from different points of view being dealt with various issues that concern the fundamental theories and concepts, legislative measures, intervention procedures, current trends at national and international levels.
Thus, for example, the article proposed by Daniela Nicolăescu notifies about the national and global factors of decrease in the number of international adoptions from Romania, in the last two decades, and highlights the relationship between internal and international dynamics of adoptions, the importance of harmonizing Romanian system at international standards and principles in this field. On the basis of the identified characteristics and trends, the author suggests useful recommendations for the future policies to promote measures to support the domestic adoption in Romania.
The position paper co-authored by Peter Unwin and Gabriela Mişca critically reviews the ‚novel’ ways in designing strategies and action plans with the main objectives the increase in the number of adoptions, and reduction of the costs incurred by keeping children unnecessarily in the looked after system in England. The authors also refer to the impact of the new government’s initiatives on children’s development, opportunities, difficulties and dilemmas for policy and practice generated by managerial principles in adoption practice promulgated in England.
Outlining a comprehensive vision about adoption, the article written by Alexandru Voicu and Réka Kis approaches this issue from a juridical, historical and social perspective. The authors present the origin and historical evolution of the institution of adoption referring to the main turning points since the Roman state until nowadays. Therefore a better understanding and interpretation of various legislative changes, which have governed and influenced the adoption is also ensured.
Based on the analysis of administrative statistical data of public interest and on the analysis of legislative documents, Nicoleta Neamţu and Daniela Cojocaru present in their study, the dynamics of the main types of family foster care placements in Romania between 1999-2011 - in the extended biological families, placed with other non-relative foster-parents or families and professional foster carers. Evolution trends and dominant patterns at the national level are highlighted and some implications of the findings for policy, social work practice and research are also suggested in the article.
Taking into account that suitable ways to measure professional decisions in the field of child protection are extremely difficult to find, as they are made in conditions of uncertainty, Carmen Buzea describes in her article the usefulness of factorial survey method (FSM) or vignettes’ method. The significant advantage of FSM lies in its design. Strategies for data analyses are illustrated. Examples are given alongside with suggestions for designing factorial survey research in order to investigate the sensitive field of decision-making in the specialized social services, foster care and child protection.
The paper co-authored by Claudia Oşvat and Cristiana Marc offers on the one hand, a quantitative perspective of the increasing number of children placed in professional foster care in Bihor county in between 1998-2011 and the benefits from this measure of special protection between 2008-2011, and on the other hand, a qualitative perspective, an in-depth analysis using semi-structured interviews with professional foster parents on relevant problems facing carers and the children in the professional foster care.
The purpose of the professional foster care (PFC) and the identification of those factors associated with outcomes for child is the topic of the next empirical study, included in this special issue of the Social Work Review. For this purpose Ionela Şoş and Teodor Hărăguş undertook a longitudinal research study on children who entered the PFC in Bistriţa-Năsăud county, in between 1998-2012, to identify the characteristics of the children and of their birth families that can be seen as predictors to adoption or reunification. The data were analyzed by the authors using the life-course approach and Kaplan-Meier estimates.
Remaining on the topic of child protection services as a novelty in the Romanian literature, Oana Bădărău described and explained, using a longitudinal design of investigation, the pathway that occurs in the mechanism of recurrence of child maltreatment incidents (abused or / and neglect) in the Romanian families, even in special protection conditions (foster care placements).
Another interesting article is about communication and conflict in workaholic families written by Loredana Trancă and Patricia Runcan. As a result of a qualitative research method design in which they used case studies and observation, the crucial role of verbal and nonverbal communication in the family’s functioning is emphasized.
Based on an exploratory qualitative design, done through semi-structured
in-depth interviews, the research undertaken by Ion Copoeru and his colleagues outlined the importance of integrated social services in the field of psychoactive substance abuse and addiction. The authors suggest that the development of more informal networks among multidisciplinary professionals, working in various interrelated areas would have the mission to improve the professional collaboration and quality of social and health services.
In the paper written by Carmen G. Luca Sugawara and her colleagues is mentioned the local capacity development that played a central role in promoting sustainable changes for local communities and in helping countries move towards democratization. Based on the field notes the paper addresses challenges in promoting local capacity development and proposes a new approach to civil-society organizations, local capacity development within Moldavian context.
The article suggested by Jocelyn Clare R. Hermoso and Eileen Dombo explores the justice dimensions of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, in terms of social justice and implications on social work practice. It outlines approaches to increasing women participation in peace processes and strengthening feminist-informed social work practice particularly in conflict-affected areas.
At the end of this special issue of the Journal there are two book reviews of recent and relevant editorial with important implications for the development of intervention methodology and social work practice, namely „Individual, Family and Group Centered Social Work Processes. Case Studies”, volume coordinated by Nicoleta Neamţu and reviewed by Cosmin Goian, and „Counseling in Social Work”, volume coordinated by Hanibal Dumitraşcu and reviewed by Alexandru Bodnariu.
The current issue of Social Work Review will prove to be a useful resource to a wide variety of readers and of diverse types and ranges from focusing on foster care and adoption to broader topics targeting both families’ functioning as well as the running of effective social action at institutional, community and societal level.