Attachment theory in child welfare exploring the integration of attachment theory in child welfare practice

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Dubois, Tanya
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This research thesis is a small exploration of attachment theory in child welfare practice. The researcher investigated the extent of knowledge that child protection workers had of attachment theory and the extent to which they integrated attachment theory into child welfare practice. A purposive non-probability sample was used to recruit General Authority child welfare workers in Manitoba. Five workers participated in the exploratory qualitative descriptive research study. Participants responded to a demographic survey investigating their education, training, years of service and the participants provided a brief description of attachment theory. Participants also reviewed vignettes and responded to semi-structured interview scripts eliciting practice information related to the vignettes. The data elicited was analyzed using content analysis. The degree of exposure to attachment theory, opportunities to engage in theory informed practice, and external and internal agency pressures were observed to influence theory integration into child welfare practice. Participants acknowledged the attachment theory concepts of transmission of parenting behaviours and attachment strategies through relationships. Participants considered the therapeutic capacity of relational and attachment focused interventions to bring about change to maladaptive parenting behaviours.
Attachment Theory, Child Welfare