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A small‐scale qualitative scoping study into the experiences of looked after children and care leavers who are parents in Wales

Child & Family Social Work

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This paper presents the findings of a scoping study into looked after children and care leavers who are parents in Wales. Eight parents engaged in a qualitative interview. Thirty‐one pregnancies were discussed during the interviews: 16 live births, two ongoing pregnancies, one stillbirth, one termination and 11 miscarriages. At the point of interview, two parents continued to care for their children, but six had experienced the permanent removal of their child/ren as a result of social services intervention. Twelve of the 16 children discussed in the interviews were ‘looked after’ or adopted. Despite its small‐scale nature, the study highlights important considerations before, during and after participants became parents. Broadly categorized, these relate to the influence of parents' childhood experiences on their capacity to be parents, the availability and adequacy of support during parenting and the ensuing impact of parenting ‘success’ or ‘failure’. For parents who had experienced the loss of a child, some were resigned to having no further children, some continued to hope for a family in the future, while others had experienced cycles of repeated pregnancies and compulsory removals. The findings are considered in the context of related literature and suggest that increased attention is required in this under‐researched but highly emotive area.