Outcomes for Permanence and Stability for Children in Long-term Care

Lisa Moran, Caroline McGregor and Carmel Devaney - The UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, National University of Ireland, Galway

Executive Summary

The aim of this study was to explore how young people who have been in care, and their carers, conceptualise permanence and stability. This study focuses on outcomes for permanence and stability for children in long-term care in two Irish counties: Donegal and Galway. The sample covers children who were in care over a five-year period (2008 to 2013). The intention was to help practitioners to demonstrate tangible and measurable outcomes for children in different care arrangements (e.g. longterm foster care, residential care) to enhance evidence-based practice and inform decisions in the best interest of the child. The study was a joint project between the the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre (UCFRC) and Tusla, the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) as part of an ongoing research partnership.

The principal objectives of this study were as follows:

  1. Produce a comprehensive scoping review of international and Irish research literature on outcomes for permanence and children in care, to function as an information source for Tusla social work practitioners (e.g. for court reporting purposes).
  2. Complete a narrative, qualitative study of children and young people’s ‘journeys’ into care, how they interpret permanence and stability, and their opinions on factors that lead to better outcomes for them.
  3. Collate a ‘pen picture’ of factors that influence permanence and stability outcomes for children and youth, using quantitative data collected by Tusla social workers using case-file analysis techniques.
  4. Develop a set of recommendations and guidance documents for social work practitioners on improving ways of working with children and families, based on the research findings.

For more information on the research methods for this study, please view the Appendices by clicking here