Researchers led by the University of Stirling have won a £500,000 award from the Nuffield Foundation and a philanthropic donor, to carry out the next stage of ground-breaking work intended to improve the lives of children who become "looked-after" by the care systems.
In the largest UK study of its kind, between 2014 and 2018, the team followed the progress of every single child aged five and under who became looked-after in Scotland in the years 2012/2013, a total of 1,836 children.
The highly acclaimed study, published last year (2019) analysed the children's pre-care experiences, pathways and early outcomes. It used administrative data, surveys of caregivers and social workers, and interviews with children and caregivers.
Key findings of Phase 1 of the study - titled Permanently Progressing? Building Secure Futures For Children In Scotland - were that a third of the children were still not in permanent placements after four years, and that adoption generally took more than two years.
Now the team, led by University of Stirling social work expert Dr Helen Whincup has been awarded the prestigious half-million pounds of funding to revisit the 1,836 children.
Senior Lecturer in Social Work
Phase 2 of this longitudinal study which will run until 2024, will provide important information for children, families, social work practitioners and policy-makers in Scotland and internationally
In Phase 2 - titled Permanently Progressing? Middle Childhood - the team, comprising researchers from the University of Stirling, Lancaster University, and Adoption and Fostering Alliance (AFA) Scotland, will use administrative data, questionnaires and interviews to see where the children are now and how they are faring.
Dr Whincup said: "Phase 2 of this longitudinal study which will run until 2024, will provide important information for children, families, social work practitioners and policy-makers in Scotland and internationally, which in turn will result in more effective services and better outcomes for children and families."
Reports and summaries for Phase 1 of the Permanently Progressing? study including an information sheet for children are available at the Permanently Progressing? website.