Article

Care Experience and Friendship: Theory and International Evidence to Improve Practice and Future Research

Citation

Roesch-Marsh A & Emond R (2021) Care Experience and Friendship: Theory and International Evidence to Improve Practice and Future Research. British Journal of Social Work, 51 (1), pp. 132-149. https://doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcaa131

Abstract
Drawing on a review of recent international literature, this article argues for the first time that an understanding of, and engagement with, the theory and practice of friendship is essential to working alongside those who have care experience. Drawing on theory from philosophy, psychology and sociology, the care system is explored as a unique and challenging context for making and keeping the reciprocal, caring friendships which research suggests are important for a ‘happy, healthy life’. Our analysis shows how theories of friendship have failed to consider the friendship experiences of those in the care system. We suggest that including these experiences offers new opportunities to develop theory and practice in the field of friendship. We argue that friendship is an essential human need and, as such, should be placed centrally in assessment and intervention work, encouraging social workers to support positive and enduring friendships for the people they work with.

Keywords
care experience; care leavers; friendship; looked after children; relationships; social work

Journal
British Journal of Social Work: Volume 51, Issue 1

StatusPublished
Publication date17/02/2021
Publication date online29/10/2020
Date accepted by journal27/07/2020
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/32419
PublisherOxford University Press (OUP)
ISSN0045-3102
eISSN1468-263X