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Unit information: Advanced Practice with Looked After Children: Adoption, Fostering and Kinship Care in 2021/22

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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) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Mim Cartwright
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.


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How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.