An exploration into Social Care Practitioners understanding of attachment theory when working with children and families.
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There has been much debate in the past decade around the development and use of attachment theory in work with children and families. The utilisation of attachment theory within social care practice does not feature prominently in Ireland. This influenced the researcher to conduct this study as there is a lack of previous research undertaken in regards to the use of attachment theory by social care practitioners. In response to this the researcher interviewed five social care professionals working in the area of residential care to gain an insight into their understanding on the importance of attachment theory when working with children and families. The study also examined their views on the relevance of attachment theory and examined if and how they use attachment theory when working with children and families. Semi –structured interviews were used to conduct the research. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data from the interviews. Results found that the participants had limited knowledge of attachment theory. As a result they were unable to apply the theory to their practice with children and families. The participants believed and acknowledged the relevance of attachment theory in their work but were restricted in many ways to implement the theory in their practice with children and families. Contextual factors such as time constraints left it extremely difficult to use attachment theory even if the participants were trained in the area. The research concluded with recommendations that further research would be useful in the area of social care practice to explore the impact of the use of attachment an