Hong Kong Christian Service

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Issue 005
2015 Jan

Home Coming -
The study on influence of family of origin on child development

A family full of warmth is a wish deep down in most of the people, however, this is not the case for some children who have to be taken care by foster homes or small group homes because their families of origin are facing crises, such as server family conflicts, illness of parents or parents passing away. The foster homes or small group homes that providing the non-residential child care service are temporary taking up the parents role.

Parenting: quality time is more important than quantity

We have always been encouraging the family of origin to keep close contact with their children while they are living in foster or small group homes, however in this study, we found that the more contact the children have with their own family, the less desirable their development.

According to frontline experience, we observed that the children would follow the lifestyle of their own family after their short-term stay, such as messing up schedules, negligent of personal hygiene, indulge in video games and even speak foul languages, on the other hand for those who maintain less contact with their family of origin, the children are more willing to improve themselves under the care and encouragement of their parents. This indicates that the interaction with family members is more about quality time rather than the amount of time. Based on this finding, we believe that the key to child development is to build up quality family life first before they reunite with their family of origin.

Helping parents to know their children’s needs and parenting

Based on this presumption, family service and referring agencies should aim at helping parents to play their roles effectively during their contacting time. Social workers could observe their interaction when paying home visits when the children stay with the family of origin, on the other hand, they can demonstrate to parents the skills of parenting. Furthermore, a schedule as when the children could reunite with his own family could be worked out, and community resources are introduced to them, so that both the children and his family could enjoy this quality time effectively.

Social workers could make use of the opportunity to promote children’s self-managing abilities, improve their life skills and manage their emotion, so that parents in the face of physical weariness are more willing to take their children home.

The research findings have directive indication to the field as well as to ordinary families as a whole, building up a quality parenting time is very important to children. To family service workers, we believe that the challenge ahead is difficulties encountered by parents, therefore, creating a suitable environment where they have effective means to take care of children can benefit both parents and their children.

The study on influence of family of origin on child development
Our small group homes and foster care service conducted a survey on the influence of family origin on child development so that we could have more in-depth knowledge about its effect on child. After this survey, the importance of “family-focused” is thus confirmed, and at the same time, we have to put more emphasis on working with parents to expedite family re-union. The survey has been published, please visit http://www.hkcs.org/fcb/fc/pdf/research2014.pdf

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