The importance of parent-child contact to the well-being of children in residential care is emphasized in child welfare literature. However, despite the central role of youth care workers in the lives of children in residential care settings (RCSs), there is a lack of research on the role of RCS staff in child-parent contact. This study, based on the reports of 240 youth, aged 14 to 18, in therapeutic RCSs for children at risk in Israel, examined the link between frequency of contact and quality of attachment between mothers and adolescents and adolescents’ emotional-behavioral difficulties, and the moderating role of RCS youth care workers’ attitudes towards mother involvement in that link. The findings show a negative relationship between adolescents’ emotional-behavioral difficulties and their perceived quality of attachment to their mother. Frequency of contact was found to be non-significantly linked with adolescent difficulties. The attitudes of RCS staff towards mother involvement moderated the relationship between quality of mother-child contact and adolescents’ adjustment difficulties, so that among youth who reported a more positive attitude of the staff towards mothers’ involvement, the relationship between the quality of child-mother attachment and fewer adjustment difficulties among adolescents was stronger. The study has implications for designing interventions and training RCS staff to enhance child-parent contact while in care.
- Child-parent contact
- Parent involvement
- Residential care
- Staff attitudes
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science