Outcomes of Report for Children in Long-term Foster Care Launched

May 25 2017 Posted: 15:48 IST

NUI Galway and Tusla Child and Family Agency launches report on ‘Outcomes for Permanence and Stability for Children in Long-term Care’ in Galway and Donegal

An important report on outcomes for children and young people in long-term foster care is to be launched in Galway and Donegal.

The report entitled ‘Outcomes for Permanence and Stability for Children in Long-term Care’ is based on the views and experiences of foster carers, families of origin and young people who have been in long-term care between the period of 2008 and 2013. The study is focused on the factors that were found to affect the stability of foster care placements for children and youth in long-term care in Ireland.

The major study was commissioned by Tusla, the Child and Family Agency and was completed by researchers Dr Lisa Moran, Professor Caroline McGregor and Dr Carmel Devaney at the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway. The project was carried out in partnership with Tusla Child and Family Social Work in Donegal and Galway.

The findings underline the significance of perceived service support, communication, and relationships as key factors that improve permanence and stability for children and youth in care. Underpinning all of these is the importance of continuity for the young person. The research shows the importance of having supportive adults and peers in young people’s social networks, such as foster carers, social workers, friends, and professionals. It also highlights the importance of children’s relationships with Tusla practitioners and contact with family members as factors that affect stability and permanence.

Dr Carmel Devaney and Professor Caroline McGregor from the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway, said: “This study allows practitioners, managers and policy makers to hear from children and young people, their parents and their carer on the experience of being in care with the overall aim of improving their outcomes. The main focus of the study is on the factors that affect outcomes for permanence and stability for children in care and how we can best promote these within the care experience.

The study produced key recommendations and practice guidance focused on how practitioners and TUSLA can enhance its service provision to improve outcomes for stability and permanence for children in long-term care. These include the importance of effective communication with all individuals within the system including the child's family of origin, their foster family and their wider networks, continuity in terms of placements, relationships with practitioners, with family of origin and with foster families. The report also highlights the huge importance of sibling relationships, which can sometimes be neglected. The importance of the allocated social worker having sufficient time and capacity to do essential direct work with young people while in care and transitioning out of care, and the need for planning ahead for additional resources to be available at times of instability is also emphasised.”

The project report, alongside the accompanying literature review and practice guide was launched in Donegal on 22 of May and an additional launch will be held in Galway on 29 May.

To read the full report, visit: http://www.childandfamilyresearch.ie/cfrc/publications/policyreports/


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