Research supporting Fostering Changes
Research also recognises that children requiring foster care placements often present with a range of challenging behaviours and/or mental health issues (over 60%). Therefore in order to provide stability and to support children and young people with complex presentations caregivers and workers require specialist training.
In New Zealand research data have found that…
- 30% of children in care (CIC) require education support
- 29% of CIC end up with a corrections sentence (5x higher than the normal population)
- CIC Make up 67% of the adult justice population
- 41% of CIC have a mental health disorder (although internationally this is recognised as 60%)
- CIC make up 50% of all completed youth suicides
- Up to 67% are mothers within 18 months of leaving care
- Recent CYF research indicate that a lifetime needs of CIC is around $750,000.
Given these poor outcomes Incredible Families have committed to training other professionals, caregivers and grandparents in Fostering Changes. An evidenced based programme which aim is to increase placement stability by improving communication and reducing challenging behaviour.
We know that a child in care who has 3 or more placement breakdowns are at greatest risk from developing long term needs.
- Fostering Changes develops pro-social skills and teaches the CIC to self-regulate (this will reduce risk to developing MH difficulties and less likely to develop anti-social peers/ offending behaviour)
- Fostering Changes enables the CIC to access education (protective factor and more likely to achieve independence)
- Fostering Changes supports caregivers in managing their own stress and communicating their needs (a protective factor in placement stability and improving attachments between caregivers and their children).
Does Fostering Changes have a research base?
Fostering Changes is one of the few evidence-based programmes for caregivers available internationally. The Fostering Changes Team in the UK have begun to train social workers, clinicians and more recently caregivers as facilitators.
Fostering Changes has been well evaluated as part of a randomised control trial. For more details please see the attached report. The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children recently completed a review of all interventions for children in care and sighted Fostering Changes as one of the most promising. A scoping report completed by Cardiff University “In good Hands” whose role it was to gather robust evidence and draw on existing interventions and programmes from across the UK and beyond in the quest to identify effective ways of improving the life chances of looked after children and young people in Wales. The outcome from this work was to present two potential models for the Big Lottery Fund’s consideration for long term pilot investment, one of which was to roll out Fostering Changes.
Below are the three reports on the effectiveness of the Fostering Changes programme.
Link to RCT trial.
Link to NSPCC report
In good hands
How do we and our services evaluate outcomes?
In order to ascertain whether the programme is effective for a New Zealand population a variety of pre and post measures can be completed.
- Home visit to the caregivers. During the visit the facilitators will have an opportunity to see the caregivers within their home and to think about how the house is run, what is important to the caregiver and explore their individual parenting practices. There are guidelines for this interview.
- The pre-intervention questionnaires should be completed prior to the first session.
- Finally post-intervention questionnaires must be completed on the final session.
- Weekly feedback sheets to completed by all attendees.
The questionnaires have been chosen to measure several key areas.
- Attachment between carer and child
- Caregiver stress
- Behavioural difficulties
- Intervention effectiveness.
Please contact Abi Simmonds for further information on suggested outcome measures.