Child Neglect in Schools: Messages for interprofessional safeguarding practice

Assessing Parental Capacity to Change when Children are on the Edge of Care: an overview of current research evidence


Authors: Harriet Ward, Rebecca Brown and Georgia Hyde-Dryden

Year: June 2014


Assessing Parental Capacity to Change when Children are on the Edge of Care is an overview of current research evidence, bringing together some of the key research messages concerning factors which promote or inhibit parental capacity to change in families where there are significant child protection concerns. It is intended to serve as a reference resource for social workers in their work to support families where children’s safety and developmental functioning are at risk. Its purpose is also to assist social workers and children’s guardians in delivering more focused and robust assessments of parenting capability and parental capacity to change, and assist judges and other legal professionals in evaluating the quality of assessment work in court proceedings. The report brings together research findings from a wide range of disciplines, which are not otherwise readily available in one location for social workers, family justice professionals and other practitioners with safeguarding responsibilities. The research evidence covered in this report confirms that change is both important and necessary when children are suffering abuse and neglect. However it also makes it clear that change is difficult for everyone, but even harder for those parents who are struggling with an interlocking web of problems. It also takes time. Change is a complex process, and although it can be supported and promoted through effective interagency interventions, it cannot be imposed. It will not happen unless parents are proactively engaged. These are the key messages from the review.

Contested cultures of care: Research with and for the Plus One Community on the Plus One Experience


Authors: Alex Nunn, Tamsin Bowers-Brown, Tom Dodsley, Jade Murden, Tonimarie Benaton, Alix Manning-Jones, The Plus One Community

Year: June 2019


This study was funded by the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Collaborative Outreach Progamme (DANCOP). It focusses mainly on a series of holiday workshops run by the Derby Cultural Education Partnership (CEP) for young people with direct experiences of the care system. The findings reported here result from a variety of qualitative methods and represent the shared understanding of Plus One between researchers from the University of Derby, arts practitioners at Derby Theatre and the other CEP partners and the young people who participate in the programme.

Young People with a Disability Leaving State Care Phase Two Report. Issues, Challenges, Directions The Young People’s Perspective.


Authors: Pamela Snow, Philip Mendes and Delia O’Donohue

Year: N.D.


This report presents the second phase of the Monash University Young People with a Disability Leaving Care Study. The Phase One Report (Mendes, Snow & Broadley, 2013) presented findings from consultations with practitioners from six key agencies in Victoria that provide out of home care services to young people with disabilities, and an analysis of these findings with reference to relevant national and international literature. The consultations in the first phase of the study aimed to explore from the practitioners’ perspective:

– the ongoing support needs of young people with disabilities when leaving care;

– the demographic backgrounds and care experiences of this group of care leavers;

– the specialised transition needs of this group;

– the nature of the existing policy and practice relationships between child protection services and child and adult disability services; and

– practices and policies that would lead to improved outcomes for young people with a disability transitioning from out of home care in Victoria.

Key findings from the first phase report included:

– practitioners themselves believe leaving care planning is inadequate and that this contributes to poor transitions; 

– practitioners are very frustrated by the lack of appropriate housing for young people leaving care;

– interagency collaboration between child protection and disability services is poor; and

– young people who move into adult disability services often experience greatly reduced levels of support.

A qualitative life course study of the educational pathways of care-experienced adults.


Author: Eavan Brady

Year: 2020


This study is about the educational pathways of adults who spent time in out-of-home care as children (‘care-experienced adults’) and those factors that have influenced and shaped these pathways over time. The research is qualitative and uses the life course perspective as both a guiding research paradigm and conceptual framework.

A strong future for young people leaving out-of-home care


Author: Toni Beauchamp

Year: June 2014


Uniting (formerly UnitingCare Children Young People and Families) has conducted a review of Australian and international policy and program approaches relevant to improving outcomes for young people who are transitioning from out-of-home care (OOHC) to adulthood. This paper sets out the key learnings from this review. The paper focuses on the policy changes needed for young people who are transitioning from care across the leaving and aftercare phases. It includes a six-point plan to improve outcomes for young people who are transitioning from OOHC to adulthood. While the paper focuses particularly on the NSW policy context it will also have relevance to readers in other Australian states and territories.

A necessary engagement: An international review of parent and family engagement in child protection


Authors: Mary Ivec, P. Chamberlain and Olivia Clayton

Year: June 2013


This report provides a review of international and national models of engagement, support and advocacy for parents who have contact with child protection systems. How statutory child protection systems engage with parents ultimately affects the outcomes for children, including safety, permanency and wellbeing. While social work practices that emphasise people’s self-determination and strengths are recognised as fundamental to eliciting change in parents when care standards have faltered, there is widespread acknowledgment of the struggle child protection authorities have to meaningfully engage parents and families.

Relationship-based practice and service system expertise to support young people transitioning from out-of-home care in Victoria


Author: Jade Purtell, Philip Mendes

Year: 2020


The Salvation Army Westcare Continuing Care program evaluation final report by Jade Purtell and Philip Mendes (Monash University Department of Social Work)

This is the final report of the evaluation of the Salvation Army Westcare Continuing Care Program, which was based in Melbourne’s Western Metropolitan Region from 2013-19. The program aimed to provide relationship-based support to assist the planning, preparation and support needs of young people during their transition from out-of-home care (OOHC) to independent living.

Young people transitioning from OOHC, often called care leavers or care experienced young people, are recognized globally as a vulnerable group. This is due to a range of circumstances including exposure to childhood disadvantage and sometimes trauma prior to entering care, varied OOHC experiences in terms of levels of placement and carer stability; and limited assistance from family and community connections as they transition from care into adulthood. Nevertheless, they are not a homogeneous group, and vary greatly in terms of their developmental needs and capacity at the time of transition.

“I wish someone would explain why I am in care”: The impact of children and young people’s lack of understanding of why they are in out-of-home care on their well-being and felt security


Authors: Jo Staines and Julie Selwyn

Year: Jan 2020


Having a good understanding of one’s origins and history is known to be significant in identity development. Drawing on a large-scale online survey of looked after children’s subjective well-being, this paper demonstrates that a significant number of children and young people (age 4–18 years) did not fully understand the reasons for their entry to care. The paper explores the effect of this lack of knowledge on children’s well-being and on their feelings of being settled in their current placement. The study reiterates the need for professionals to be honest and open with children in out-of-home care and the need to specifically address, perhaps repeatedly, why a child is not living with their birth family.



Author: Centre for research for children and families, University of East Anglia

Year: 2019


We have been fortunate in gaining new funding for research in the Centre over the last year. As well as supporting our ongoing study on fathers in recurrent care proceedings, the Nuffield Foundation has granted an award to Gillian Schofield, Birgit Larsson and their team to investigate the implementation of the first Regulations and Guidance in England (2015) on long-term foster care as a permanence option. Gillian was a member of the expert working group that developed this documentation, and research from the CRCF was key in the underpinning knowledge base. We are also very pleased that Norfolk Constabulary are funding Jane Dodsworth and Penny Sorensen to study the increasing problem of child criminal exploitation and in particular ‘County Lines’. Our third new study is an evaluation of the activities of the Suffolk and Norfolk Social Work Teaching Partnership, now in its third year. Click Here