The Fostering Changes trial is exploring the most important factors that contribute to successful, stable foster placements.
Long-term outcomes for looked after children are extremely poor when compared to other children. Looked-after children are at far greater risk of mental health disorders, academic under achievement, risk-taking behaviours, teenage pregnancy and the likelihood of forensic involvement. Some children in care benefit enormously from their foster care placements and go on to reach their full potential. A safe and nurturing environment can equip looked after children with the resources they need to overcome their poor start in life.
What is the study trying to achieve?
The Fostering Changes Programme aims to help foster carers manage difficult and challenging child behaviour. This can help them to form more positive relationships with the children they look after which in itself is a cornerstone for positive change and help enormously in improving their long-term outcomes. The randomised control trial is testing whether the programme works.
How will this benefit parents and families?
The Fostering Changes Programme for foster carers is being revised and the new programme piloted with six groups of foster carers recruited from local authorities within London. The revised programme will incorporate information from a preliminary study of over 60 foster families in London (SAIL) on the most important factors that contribute to successful, stable foster placements.
The new courses will place a greater focus on:
- how attachment issues affect behaviour; and
- accessing better educational opportunities for looked-after children.
Following an evaluation, a new Fostering Changes manual will be made available to trained practitioners. It will be one of the most up-to-date evidence-based training courses for foster carers in the UK.
Senior Project Researcher
International Academy for Parenting Research
King's College, London
Box 86, 16 De Crespigny Park