Contemporary Family Therapy

, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 191–200 | Cite as

Attachment as a Tool in the Treatment of Children Within Foster Care

  • Julie GardenhireEmail author
  • Cydney Schleiden
  • Cameron C. Brown
Original Paper


Despite nearly 20% of marriage and family therapists graduated from COAMFTE accredited programs work within adoption and foster care agencies, less than 5% of COAMFTE accredited programs offer formal education and guidance focusing on working with foster care children. Some estimates suggest over 500,000 children in the United States enter the foster care system every year with many of them encountering mild to severe emotional, mental, and physical health concerns. Focusing on strengthening attachment between the foster child and parent could assist in alleviating many of these concerns. In an effort to begin addressing this notable gap in training paired with a demand for competent therapists who can serve children within the foster care system, this article has a twofold purpose. First, through synthesizing existing literature this article offers context and education about adverse experiences and concerns of children in foster care. Second, through an attachment lens clinical suggestions and interventions are discussed to assist MFTs in improving many of the emotional, mental, and physical health concerns found in this population.


Attachment Foster care Marriage and family therapy 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Research Involving Human Participants and/or Animals

This manuscript is strictly theoretical in nature, based entirely on prior research and literature. As such, there was no inclusion of human or animal research participants.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julie Gardenhire
    • 1
    Email author
  • Cydney Schleiden
    • 1
  • Cameron C. Brown
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Human Sciences, Couple, Marriage, and Family Therapy ProgramTexas Tech UniversityLubbockUSA

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