Decision making for children

Helen Whincup, Maggie Grant, Cheryl Burgess, Nina Biehal - Universities of Stirling, York, and Lancaster in collaboration with Adoption and Fostering Alliance (AFA) Scotland

This report has been completed as one part of the study Permanently Progressing? Building secure futures for children in Scotland. The study is the first in Scotland to investigate decision making, permanence, progress, outcomes and belonging for children who became ‘looked after’ at home, or were placed away from their parents (with kinship carers, foster carers or prospective adopters) when they were aged five and under. Phase One of the research ran from 2014-18 and is designed to be the first phase in a longitudinal study following a large cohort of young children in to adolescence and beyond. The research was funded by a legacy and was undertaken by a team from the universities of Stirling, York, and Lancaster in conjunction with Adoption and Fostering Alliance (AFA) Scotland.

The Decision making for children report is one strand of the Permanently Progressing? study. The study has five strands in total. In this strand, during 2015-17, 160 decision makers were interviewed across Scotland mainly in groups, but some individually. These included social workers and allied professionals, members of Children’s Hearings, Reporters to the Children’s Hearings, independent consultants, members of permanence panels, and a sheriff. This enabled us to identity from a range of perspectives the factors which influence decision making for children.


Insights for policymakers and practitioners: