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Supporting foster carers to meet the needs of looked after children: A feasibility and pilot evaluation of the Reflective Fostering Programme

Midgley, N; Cirasola, A; Austerberry, C; Ranzato, E; West, G; Martin, P; Redfern, S; ... Park, T; + view all (2019) Supporting foster carers to meet the needs of looked after children: A feasibility and pilot evaluation of the Reflective Fostering Programme. Developmental Child Welfare 10.1177/2516103218817550. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

This study presents the feasibility and pilot evaluation of the Reflective Fostering Programme (RFP), a recently developed, group-based program to support foster carers, based on the concept of “reflective parenting.” This innovative development follows calls by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence and other organizations to help improve outcomes for children in care by providing better support to their carers. This study aimed to establish whether it is possible to implement the RFP and to gather preliminary data on the acceptability and effectiveness of the program. Twenty-eight foster carers took part in the study. Results indicate that training and delivery of the RFP were feasible; the program was felt to be relevant and meaningful to both foster carers and social care professionals delivering it. Preliminary pre-post evaluation showed a statistically significant improvement in foster carers’ stress, their achievement of self-defined goals and child’s emotion lability and overall strengths and difficulties. There were no statistically significant changes in carers’ reflective functioning, although some foster carers reported on changes in reflective capacity during focus groups. Preliminary findings about the feasibility of training and delivery of the RFP, as well as the acceptability and effectiveness of the program, are encouraging, but further impact evaluation is needed.

Type: Article
Title: Supporting foster carers to meet the needs of looked after children: A feasibility and pilot evaluation of the Reflective Fostering Programme
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/2516103218817550
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1177/2516103218817550
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Fostering, foster carer, looked after children, mentalization, parenting stress, reflective functioning
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Applied Health Research
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10066874
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