Article

Longing to belong: Children in residential care and their experiences of peer relationships at school and in the children's home

Citation

Emond R (2014) Longing to belong: Children in residential care and their experiences of peer relationships at school and in the children's home. Child and Family Social Work, 19 (2), pp. 194-202. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2206.2012.00893.x

Abstract
Resilience literature has stressed the potential of both children's educational experiences and their friendships to act as protective factors against adversity. However, less is known about how children living with adversity navigate these ‘everyday' aspects of social terrain and the particular challenges that they face. This paper explores the meaning and experience of peer relationships to one group of children living in residential care in Ireland. Drawing on a larger study of school and care, it explores data gathered from 16 children, aged 8 to 18, who were living in eight different children's homes on the east coast of Ireland. The findings suggest that the children were acutely aware of their ‘care' status and developed a number of strategies to manage this identity in school. It appears that more often than not, children described being left to their own devises to manage friendships and peer relationships. Thus, despite being a crucial source of both stress and support, peer relationships did not appear to be regarded as an issue that adults should be involved with. This raises questions for practice about what children should be supported with and the way in which peer relationships are potentially overlooked by social work, residential and school staff.

Keywords
friendship; identity; residential care; support

Journal
Child and Family Social Work: Volume 19, Issue 2

StatusPublished
Publication date31/05/2014
Publication date online13/08/2012
Date accepted by journal01/06/2012
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/19716
PublisherWiley-Blackwell
ISSN1356-7500