Adoption for looked after children: messages from research

An overview of the Adoption Research Initiative

Written by Caroline Thomas
Price: £21.95
Publisher: BAAF
Publication date: 2013
ISBN: ISBN 978 1 907585 685
Ari overview front cover image
About the book

Commissioned by the (former) Department for Children, Schools and Families, the Adoption Research Initiative set out to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the Adoption and Children Act 2002. A series of seven large and complex studies examined how the objectives of the Act were being translated into local policies, procedures and practices; measured the outcomes for children who had recently been placed for adoption or in other permanent placements; and assessed the impact of the placements on their families and carers.

The Adoption Research Initiative was able to focus on previously under-researched aspects of policy and practice and explore the key challenges for adoption at the start of the 21st century. Each study was independently peer reviewed and led by highly experienced researchers. A wide range of qualitative and quantitative research methods were used and the main findings complement and confirm those from other relevant studies. Four themes emerged: permanence, finding a family, adoption support, and contact.

This overview:

  • brings together the key findings from the research initiative;
  • provides a body of evidence from which we can learn about the effects of earlier attempts to develop a system suited to the adoption of looked after children;
  • highlights some of the problems that have endured within the adoption system as it has continued to evolve, but also describes the significant progress that has been made.

The findings from the Adoption Research Initiative have been available to the government to inform its proposals for change. The studies’ key messages for policy and practice offer a resource to all those with responsibilities for the implementation of the new reform programme.

The author
Caroline Thomas coordinated the Adoption Research Initiative in her role as Academic Adviser to the Department for Education. She is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the University of Stirling and a Principal Associate at The Colebrooke Centre for Evidence and Implementation.

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