This study aims not only to analyze the contact in foster care in Portugal compared to results collected from other studies but also to define the implications of its practice so as to propose improvements to the child protection system. It involves 289 foster children from the District of Porto whose results were obtained from official records. Subsequently, this study discusses the insights and practical consequences, the importance of maintaining up-to-date information on the changes of the biological family, the need to improve specific skills in social workers, and how to overlook the negative results of visits regarding the advantages and risks of maintaining contact.

Key Take Away Points

  • The update about the consequences of Foster Care Programs in Portugal
  • Advantages and risks of children's contact with their birth families
  • Improving social workers' skills in relation to manage the relationship between children and their birth families

Author Biography

João M. S. Carvalho is a Researcher and Professor at ISMAI – University Institute of Maia, in Portugal. He has a degree in Business Management, a MSc in Economics, and a PhD in Business Sciences. He worked for 15 years at pharmaceutical companies on several management positions. Since 1997, he has been lecturing courses in 1st and 2nd cycles of Management, Marketing, Social Sciences and Communication. His areas of research include studies in the Third Sector, social sustainability and social policies. He is author of several articles, book chapters and books.

Paulo Delgado is Bachelor of Laws, Master in Education and Doctor of Science Education at the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain). He is Associate Professor in the School of Education at the Polytechnic Institute of Porto (Portugal), and Coordinator of the Bachelor in Social Education. He has published several articles and book chapters, and he is author of the books: Os Direitos da Criança. Da participação à responsabilidade [The Rights of the Child. From participation to responsibility]; Acolhimento Familiar. Conceitos, práticas e (in)definições [Foster Care. Concepts, Practices and (un)definitions]; Crianças e acolhedores. Histórias de vida em famílias [Children and Foster Families. Lifestories]; Acolhimento Familiar de Crianças. Uma perspectiva ecológica. [Children’s Foster Care. An ecological perspective].