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Scoping review of international and Irish literature on outcomes for permanence and stability for children in care

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Show simple item record Moran, Lisa Devaney, Carmel McGregor, Caroline 2017-12-12T12:23:06Z 2017-12-12T12:23:06Z 2016
dc.description non-peer-reviewed en_US
dc.description.abstract This document aims to inform evidence-based practice in outcomes for children in care by synthesising and critically analysing Irish and international research literature. In particular, it aims to offer practitioners a resource to use in reports such as those required for court or case conferences to back up their recommendations and arguments relating to permanence and stability. Specifically, this review identifies and examines quantitative and qualitative evidence of indicators for stability and permanence outcomes for children in care, assessing the impact of socio-demographic factors such as age at entry to care and a range of socio-economic indicators on the achievement of permanence objectives. Internationally, child welfare systems place emphasis on accomplishing permanence outcomes for children in care, particularly for those who spend prolonged time periods in care systems (‘long-term care’).1 While there is substantial debate about the meaning of permanence and how this might best be accomplished for children at different levels of need, permanence is defined as stable, long-standing care arrangements for young people that nurture secure and loving relationships between the children and other persons who are involved in their care (i.e., foster parents, parents of origin, siblings). Permanence also implies feelings of security that are grounded in ‘place’. Feeling secure in one’s environment comes from a sense of connectedness between the child and the places they frequent on a regular basis (e.g., school, religious communities, youth venues) and from being secure in one’s home life. Both qualitative and quantitative evidence around children in care and outcomes of permanence and stability indicate that factors like age at entry to care and length of time spent in care can significantly impact on children’s experiences and the likelihood of their achieving permanence. At the same time, however, recent studies show that there are no single factors which impact on permanence and stability outcomes for children and young people. Instead, the young person’s experiences prior to entering care and their experiences while in care environments significantly shape outcomes for permanence and stability (see McSherry et al., 2008). This is also highlighted in recent research utilising state-of-the-art methodologies from the US in particular, which advocates that outcomes for permanence and stability are contextual (Biehal, 2014). While evidence shows that there are direct and indirect correlations with permanence and stability outcomes, the policy context, social context and factors at the level of the child and the family are significant in shaping permanence and stability outcomes. In turn, this review draws upon qualitative, quantitative and mixed-method studies to assess evidence from Ireland and internationally on the impacts of various indicators on permanence and stability outcomes. The combination of these research approaches draws attention to the contextual and relational aspects of family life and children’s relationships that impact on the achievement of permanence outcomes. We argue, therefore, that predictive factors indicating strong or weak correlations for permanence and stability must be understood as a product of the distinctive policy and social contexts of different nations, regions and cultures. The first chapter of this review provides an exploratory overview of the context of permanence and stability, outlining some definitions of the terms that frequently appear in the academic literature not alone in Ireland but internationally, while also illustrating their significance for this study. The chapter argues that the incorporation of qualitative and quantitative evidence supporting the case for and against various predictive factors significantly adds to evidence-based and evidence-informed practice in the field of outcomes for children in care, thus highlighting the applicability of this document for practice. Chapter 1 is exploratory in character; it forms the backdrop for subsequent chapters which provide contextual detail on children in care in Ireland and in other countries (Chapter 2) and national and international literature documenting outcomes and predictive factors (Chapter 3). Chapter 4 focuses on the phenomenon of youth ageing out of care, which is a distinctive type of outcome. It is signifi cant to focus on this, as it is also pre-empted by other social harms and frequently leads to poor developmental outcomes for children and youth. Chapter 5 focuses on processes of measuring outcomes for children in care, outlining key messages from the literature on how best they can be measured, and how children’s unique care journeys can be documented. Specifically, it identifies a number of interesting quantitative measures, described in the Irish and international literature as signifi cant, arguing for their importance and applicability to understanding Irish care systems and young people’s journeys in and out of care. en_US
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.publisher UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre en_US
dc.subject children in care en_US
dc.subject welfare systems en_US
dc.subject long-term care en_US
dc.title Scoping review of international and Irish literature on outcomes for permanence and stability for children in care en_US
dc.type info:eu-repo/semantics/report en_US
dc.type.supercollection all_ul_research en_US 2017-11-22T14:35:11Z
dc.description.version PUBLISHED
dc.rights.accessrights info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess en_US
dc.internal.rssid 2729321
dc.internal.copyrightchecked Yes
dc.description.status non-peer-reviewed

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