de Serres-Lafontaine, A. et Poitras, K. (2023). Parenting during a child's placement: A systemic perspective on parental commitment. Family Relations, 1-15.


This study aims to document birth parents' commitment from a systemic perspective. Characteristics of birth parent's mental health (depressive symptoms), placement characteristics (family reunification, parent–child contact), and systemic characteristics (parent's perception of the foster parent's opinion on parent–child contact) are examined. Foster placement creates a highly vulnerable situation within families of origin. Moreover, birth parents are liable to have been exposed to multiple risk factors. Foster placement comes with many challenges that are not without consequences on the parenting experience, including loss of parenting responsibilities and redefinition of the parenting role. Parents (n = 59) participated for 70 parent–child dyads in 90-minute home visits where data on sociodemographic characteristics, mental health status, experience of the placement measure and parent–child contact, as well as level of parental commitment were gathered. Three-step hierarchical regression models were used to examine the independent contribution of the parent's perception of the foster parent's opinion on contact on parental commitment after accounting for the birth parent's mental health and placement characteristics. Results suggest that parent–child contact and parent's perception of foster parent's opinion on contact have a significant contribution to parental commitment. These findings underscore the importance of addressing parenthood in placement situations and the relevance of examining parental commitment from a systemic perspective. A deeper understanding of this vulnerable population would require reflecting on the psychosocial practices in Child Protective Services while accounting for the needs of birth parents in the placement system.



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