CoramBAAF Open Course

Learning from case reviews in Adoption, Fostering and SGO cases


The Good Practice Guide Learning from Case Reviews is based on a UK wide study of 52 case reviews concerning 98 children who had experienced serious harm while living with foster carers, adopters or special guardians.

The study spans 12 years and is the first to focus exclusively on reviews of cases of children in alternative family care. It shines a spotlight on those issues particular to these children – selection and assessment of carers; support for children and carers; and the supervision and management of arrangements.

This study identifies recurring issues of concern in case reviews, including:

  • the assessment and selection of carers: exploring motivations, gaps in information, sensitive issues, carer attitudes, and managing doubt and uncertainty;
  • keeping the child at the heart of practice: improving placement planning, reviewing children’s wellbeing, listening to children, and closely monitoring vulnerable children;
  • supporting carers: the level of supervision and oversight, the impact of organisational pressures, maintaining objectivity;
  • being aware of the assumption of safety in foster care and adoption: reluctance to explore unease, asking questions about an absent child, avoiding manipulation, and maintaining authority;
  • effective communication and collaboration: between agencies, including health, social care and education, and clarity about responsibilities to share information between services and across local authority boundaries.


This event will:

  • Give workers attending an overview of the key points of learning from research
  • Provide an opportunity to reflect on changes to be made, in their own personal practice or within their organisation's, to reduce the risk of significant harm to looked after children, those living with special guardians and adopted children.


Dr Hedy Cleaver is an Emeritus Professor at Royal Holloway College, University of London. Her experience as a social worker and child psychologist informs her research on vulnerable children and their families and the impact of professional interventions. Most recently, she was part of the research team responsible for the last triennial review of serious case reviews (Brandon et al, 2020). The guiding principle underpinning her work is a desire to improve the quality of life for children living in circumstances that place them at risk of abuse and neglect. The findings from her research have had an identifiable impact on policy and practice in the UK in respect to children and families throughout the last 30 years.

Wendy Rose OBE held children’s policy responsibilities at the Department of Health as Assistant Chief Inspector, following social work and senior management experience in the NHS and local authority. At the Open University as a Senior Research Fellow, she worked on research and development projects. During this time, she acted as a professional adviser to the Scottish Government on developing its children’s policy, Getting it Right for Every Child. Latterly, she worked with the Welsh Government on its safeguarding reforms and as an Honorary Research Fellow at Cardiff University. She has published widely including, with Julie Barnes, the second biennial analysis of serious case reviews, Improving Safeguarding Practice, for the Department for Children, Schools and Families (2008).


This event will be of particular interest to children’s services social workers and managers; Independent Reviewing Officers, adoption agency staff; independent fostering providers; CAFCASS Guardians; adoption and fostering Panel Chairs.

For social workers, reflection on this session may contribute to your continuing professional development (CPD).


Safeguarding Children living with Foster Carers, Adopters and Special Guardians: Learning from case reviews 2007–2019Book - Serious Case Reviews (2020)

Authors: Dr Hedy Cleaver & Wendy Rose OBE (2020)

Case reviews have played a critical role in helping organisations to improve the safeguarding of children. Since 1988 in England and Wales, where a child has died or come to serious harm, and abuse or neglect is known or suspected, local case reviews have provided useful explanations that can contribute to learning and change.

This good practice guide is based on a UK-wide study of 52 case reviews concerning 98 children who had died or experienced serious harm while living with foster carers, adopters or special guardians. The study spans a 12-year period and is the first to focus exclusively on reviews of cases of children in alternative family care. Consequently, it shines a spotlight on those issues that are particular to these children – the selection and assessment of their carers; the support both children and carers receive; and the supervision and management of such arrangements.


Registration 9.45am*
Start 10.00 am*
Close 1.30 pm*

*Times subject to change


Full or associate CoramBAAF member £75.00 + £15.00 VAT - Total £90.00

Individual CoramBAAF member £60.00 + £12.00 VAT - Total £72.00

Non-member £93.00 + £18.60 VAT - Total £111.60

Adopters/Fosters carers £60.00 + £12.00 VAT - Total £72.00*

Student discount for all fees 20%*

*Please contact the events team


Telephone 020 7520 2043


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