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Cardiff University research centre awarded grant for research with looked after children in Wales

24 March 2015

The Big Lottery Fund Wales has awarded a coalition of charities, including Cardiff University's Children's Social Care Research and Development Centre (CASCADE), £4.75 million to improve outcomes for children living in foster care, residential children's homes and kinship care.

As part of this investment CASCADE has been awarded nearly £500,000 to evaluate the effectiveness of the 'Confidence in Care' programme. 

This programme will provide 12 week training programmes for carers in all 22 local authorities in Wales over the next five years, aiming to stabilise and enhance care and reduce the number of children and young people having to move home due to placement breakdown. Confidence in Care will also develop groups for children in care, helping them learn new skills for managing their behaviour and understanding their emotions. Part of the research will investigate how looked after children experience and respond to these skills groups.

Professor Sally Holland, Director of CASCADE, explains: "Instability of care is thought to be one of the main reasons that many looked after children experience poor educational and health outcomes. This research will provide new evidence about how to increase stability and improve children's and carers' well-being. It breaks new ground in its research design and scale in the context of children's social care in Wales."

The research will be run in partnership with Cardiff University's South East Wales Trial Unit whose Director, Dr Michael Robling, will act as Chief Investigator. The research will measure whether the Confidence in Care programme improves outcomes for looked after children, following them for up to one year after their carers receive the training programme and comparing them to those who have not yet received the programme.

Confidence in Care is a consortium of six charities and academic bodies, including Cardiff University, The Fostering Network Wales, Action for Children, Barnardo's, The British Association for Adoption and Fostering Cymru and The Adolescent and Children's Trust. You can read the full media release on The Fostering Network website.

CASCADE Voices, CASCADE's unique partnership with Voices from Care Cymru, will involve care leavers as peer researchers in the evaluation.

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