The Concept of Psychological Support for Substitute Family



The article presents key thesis of the concept of psychological support for substitute family. They have been developed by the author during many years of empirical studies of families with a foster child, their formation and development, as well as during many years of practical psychological work with people involved in family-life set up for orphans and children left without care. The article provides explanation of the concept of a “substitute family”. The tasks which a family must deal with while providing substitute family care are described from the integrative approach perspective. The characteristics of “sufficient” and “insufficient” family resources for acceptance of a child are provided. The changes occurring in the family system while providing care during the period of 7 years are described. Two main areas of psychological support for substitute families are presented: “ecological” and “continuous”. The main targets and subjects within each area are identified. Stages of support and challenges faced by professionals are presented. Main characteristics and strategies of support and a model of its organization are outlined.

General Information

Journal rubric: Developmental Psychology

For citation: Oslon V.N. The Concept of Psychological Support for Substitute Family. Psikhologicheskaya nauka i obrazovanie = Psychological Science and Education, 2009. Vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 44–53. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Veronika N. Oslon, PhD in Psychology, Docent, Professor, Chair of Developmental Psychology named after L.F. Obukhova, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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