□ 최근 정부는 부모로부터 온전한 보호와 지원을 받지 못하는 취약 아동을 보호하기 위하여 국가와 지자체의 책임을 강화하고 아동의 권리와 이익을 최우선으로 하는 보호체계를 구축하겠다는 의지를 표명함.
□ 아동보호시설의 아동이 정상적인 발달과정을 거치면서 건강하게 성장할 수 있도록 지원하기 위해, 시설아동의 양육실태를 파악할 필요가 있음.
□ 본 연구는 아동보호시설에 입소하는 아동들의 환경적인 상황 및 아동보호시설에서의 양육실태를 분석하고, 아동보호시설에 거주하는 영유아가 원가정과 분리된 상황에서도, 건강하고 행복한 생활을 영위할 수 있도록 지원방안을 마련하는 데에 목적이 있음. The aim of the study is to explore current status of children in out-of-home care services(temporary care facility; institution; group-home; and foster care) and to provide policy recommendations on future service provision. The present study intends to gain an understanding of the children’s experiences and needs, with a view to making valuable recommendations for future service design and delivery that accommodate the specific needs of children in out-of-home care,
For this study, data were collected using a number of different research methods. First, national and international status of, and programs and policies for children in out-of-home care were reviewed to provide a critical overview of the topic. Second, a survey was conducted among care providers working at child care institutions, where most of children in out-of-home care are placed in Korea. 263 care providers participated in the survey to give insights into the lives of children in institutional care. Third, to gain a deeper understanding of current status of children in out-of-home care services, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 41 care providers across different types of out-of-home. Finally, MSSB((MacArthur Story Stem Battery) was conducted to assess socio-emotional development of 15 children in all four types of out-of-home care services.
The study revealed child-to-carer ratio for infants exceeded the legal standard in many child care institutions. Most participants of the study, regardless of the service type, identified abandonment(baby-box) as the primary reason children get placed in out-of-home care services. It was suggested that children’s language, learning and emotional development can be negatively influenced by being placed in out-of-home care services. Difficulties around the process of placement, especially to foster care, was criticized by the participants of the study. Participants argued that in order to reinforce foster care as intended, there is an essential need for additional support, as well as improving the legal processes around it. Need for consistent life-long case management for the children, and systematic supports for their families to achieve sustainable family reunification were also communicated. Nevertheless, staff shortage and financial difficulties were identified as significant challenges that most services are faced with.
Drawing on the findings, the study suggests that the fundamental basis for care provision must be around providing family-like environment for children in need of out-of-home care. Priority needs to be given to supporting children and their families to care for their children in their own homes. For those who cannot return to their own homes, they should be placed in the most family-like setting that provides the environment and care needed to meet their best interest. To do so, current process around placement needs to be restructured so that children can be placed in safe hands without delay, and continuous supervision must take place. Children in out-of-home care must be supported with professional, comprehensive therapy and counselling to achieve healthy development. Last but not least, care providers in all out-of-home care services must be systematically supported so that they can provide sufficient care for the children in need.