School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counseling (EdD)


John King


Birth Mother, Removal, Trauma, Conceptual Mapping, Social Services


Counseling | Social and Behavioral Sciences


The crisis of the involuntary removal of a child from their parent can be traumatic for both child and parent. A child’s biological mother who is undergoing the process of removal experiences a traumatic event as she feels a range of emotions. Those emotions cause depression, loss, and emotional shock that can dissociate the mother from her goal and priority of reunification with her child. Research has been limited concerning parent’s perceptions and experiences of removal with most studies being conducted emphasizing trauma for the child. The purpose of this phenomenological qualitative study is to understand the impact of trauma levels with mothers whose children have been or are currently removed from their care by social services and to explore their needs for sources of support to benefit them during this time. This study will be rooted in psychological trauma theory as developed by Pierre Janet and how trauma affects the mother during the removal process. Data collection will follow the conceptual mapping task process, utilizing interviews with participants, and data analysis will be conducted under that same framework while grouping themes together in context. Multiple contextual factors also come into play hindering a parent from learning parenting responsibilities and regaining custody of the child. Partnerships with social services and child protective services can go a long way to ensure the parent recovers from the trauma of removal and develops a healthier relationship with support systems.

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