Permanence in Foster Care

The Planning for Permanence in Foster Care project is looking at a cohort of children and social work practice and planning in six local authorities with different planning models.

The project seeks to:

  • Compare how different care planning models in six local authorities currently define and apply the concept of permanence in ‘long-term’ and ‘permanent’ foster care, in particular when planning for children of different ages.
  • Investigate social work practice in assessing, planning, linking and matching for long-term and permanent foster care – both those children who are matched with new families and those matched with existing carers.
  • Investigate the views and experiences of social workers, foster carers and children of different care planning, linking and matching models.
  • Contribute to the development of care planning and social work practice in permanent family placement in foster care, both in local authorities and the independent fostering sector, and to offer comparisons with some of the permanence planning and matching practice that has developed in adoption.

The researchers will conduct an analysis of care planning profiles and assessment documents and reports. They will also conduct interviews with foster carers and children and young people. Activites will include an exploration of the role of the independent fostering sector in providing permanent placements in foster care, and the nature of local authority commissioning arrangements.

Project details



Professor Gillian Schofield, Centre for Research on the Child and the Family, University of East Anglia

Funding programme

Children and Families

Grant amount and duration


August 2008 - May 2010



Care Planning for Permanence in Foster Care, Gillian Schofield, Mary Beek, Emma Ward and Clive Sellick at the Centre for Research on the Child and Family, University of East Anglia, March 2011

Download the Executive Summary (pdf)

Download the Research Briefing (pdf)

Download the Final Report (pdf)

Subsequent publications


Schofield, G., Beek, M., Ward, E. and Biggart, L. (2013) Professional foster carer and committed parent:  Role conflict and role enrichment at the interface between work and family in long-term foster care Child and Family Social Work 18, pp. 46-56

Schofield G, Beek, M, and Ward, E. (2012) Part of the Family: Care planning for permanence in foster care   Children and Youth Services Review 34, pp. 244-253