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Unit information: Advanced Practice with Looked After Children: Adoption, Fostering and Kinship Care in 2018/19

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Unit name Advanced Practice with Looked After Children: Adoption, Fostering and Kinship Care
Unit code SPOLM0023
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Dr. Ottaway
Open unit status Not open




School/department School for Policy Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

Within a broad understanding of theories ad models of child welfare, this unit aims:

  • to examine the evidence base for permanency planning and to consider the different ways permanency can be provided for children in care
  • to consider the most recent evidence on kinship care, long-term fostering and adoption
  • to understand factors that can lead to poor outcomes for children including poor well-being and placement breakdown
  • to explore the evidence base for contact and issues associated with the quality and purpose of contact
  • to consider the current evidence on what is known about interventions that are effective in supporting parents and substitute cares

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of the Unit, students should be able to:

  • Understand the development of permanency planning as the framework for all social work practice, its theoretical underpinnings and critiques of the approach.
  • Identify the different models of providing permanency planning in the UK.
  • Consider the evidence base for choosing adoption, special guardianship, long term fostering or kinship care placements and be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each type of placement
  • Understand how stability has an impact on children’s development and longer term health outcomes and be able to use this understanding to promote children’s rights and best interests.
  • Be aware of current evidence on children’s contact with their families and be able to plan contact that will be in the best interest of the child.
  • Understand why placements break down and how practice could be improved to reduce the stress on adoptive, foster and kinship families
  • Identify evidence-based strategies to support adoptive/foster/kinship families under stress

Teaching Information

Teaching will take place in 1.5 hour sessions, normally over a 3 day block with a further re-call day. The unit will combine lectures, seminar discussion and practical exercises

Assessment Information

A critical and reflective assignment (3500-4000 words) supported by documentary evidence from the practice context.

Reading and References

Biehal, N., et al. (2010). Belonging and Permanence: Outcomes in long-term foster care and adoption. London: BAAF

Farmer, E. and Moyers, S. (2008) Kinship care: Fostering effective family and friends care. London, Jessica Kingsley.

Macaskill C (2002) Safe Contact: Children in permanent placement and contact with their birth relatives. Lyme Regis: Russell House.

Quinton, D. (2012) Rethinking Matching in Adoptions from Care. London BAAF

Selwyn, J., Quinton, D., Harris, P., Wijedasa, D, Nawaz, S and Wood, M. (2010) Pathways to Permanence for Black, Asian and Mixed Ethnicity Children. London: BAAF

Schofield, G. and Simmonds, J. (2010) The Child Placement Handbook. London: BAAF