Collaboration with Adoption and Fostering Alliance (AFA) Scotland and Lancaster University.
Statistics from 2018 show that 85,000 children were looked after in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (31st March 2018) and 14, 738 children were looked after in Scotland (31st July 2018) (DfE 2018; Statistics Wales 2018; DoH 2018; Sottish Government). Despite the numbers, until recently little was known about: children’s experiences and pathways through the care system; the balance of voluntary and compulsory interventions; time and routes to permanence; what factors influence outcomes.
The Permanently Progressing? study is increasing understanding by following the progress of all children who became looked after in Scotland aged five or under in 2012-2013 (n=1,836) until adolescence and early adulthood. It is a three-phase longitudinal research project that will provide important and robust information for families, practitioners and policy makers and contribute to more effective services for children and families.
Phase One (2014-2018) tracked children’s experiences, pathways and early outcomes analysing information from different sources: annual Children Looked After Statistics (CLAS); surveys of caregivers and social workers: interviews of caregivers; play and talk sessions with children. We found a third of children in care were not in permanent placements after 4 years, while adoption took over two years
Outputs from Phase One:
Permanently Progressing? reports and summaries
We are seeking funding for the second phase of the study. It will revisit the 1,836 children in middle childhood (aged 7+) to see where they are living, what their legal status is, how they are getting on, and what services bolster resilience for children and caregivers.