Permanently Progressing: Reports out today!

Last September at the Permanently Progressing Conference, we had a taster of what the findings of the first phase of this longitudinal study would be. Now we can read all five reports, and six summaries which were published today. They provide rich data on children’s lives, and of the pathways to different types of permanence. Where the route to permanence is adoption, that it takes over two years for such young children seems incredible. 

The Pathways Report analyses the pathways to permanence for children who become looked after in Scotland. The team analysed data from the Children Looked After Statistics (CLAS) provided to the Scottish Government by all 32 local authorities on the total cohort of children who became looked after during the year 1 August 2012-31 July 2013 when they were aged five and under (n=1,836).Of the 1,836children, 481children were looked after at home and 1,355children were looked after away from home.This strand of the study investigated children’s pathways into and through the looked after system over four years from 2012-16, including the route and timescales to permanence.

The Linkage Report outlines and analysis the linkageof Children Looked After Statistics (CLAS) with data from Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration (SCRA) to investigate decision making, permanence, progress, outcomes and belonging for children who became ‘looked after’ at home, or away from home (with kinship carers, foster carers or prospective adopters) when they were aged five and under. It analysed children’s data over the time period 2014-2018. This strand of the research also established the basis for a further longitudinal study to examine longer term outcomes for children and young people.

The Outcomes Report focuses on the experiences, pathways, and outcomes of children who became looked after away from home, together with the factors associated with achieving permanence. This report presents important new findings on the characteristics, histories, decision making, and outcomes for 433 children who became looked after away from home during 2012-13,and remained (or were again) looked after away from home oneyear later.

The Decision Making Report examines interviews held between 2015-17 with 160 decision makers. These included social workers and allied professionals, members of Children’s Hearings, Reporters to the Children’s Hearings, independent consultants, members of permanence panels, and a sheriff. This enabled us to identity from a range of perspectives the factors which influence decision making for children.

The Children and Carers Report reports on interviews with children and carers, about their experiences. Researchers held ‘play and talk’sessions with a sample of 10 children aged between three and eight years old. The report also describes the analysis of interviews with 20 kinship carers, foster carers, and adoptive parents. The report describes what helped children feel secure, and what carers/adoptive parents said they needed to enable them to meet children’s needs.

We look forward to hearing some of the team talk about the findings at the Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Wellbeing Conference at Stirling in September 2019.

To read all the reports, go to the Permanently Progressing website.

Dr Helen Whincup, Principal Investigator on Permanently Progressing

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