Call to Action: ‘Planning and Supporting Permanence in Long-Term Foster Care’ – a survey for managers of Independent Reviewing Officers

Dear Colleagues,

Some of you may not yet know about the important Nuffield research currently being undertaken by Professor Gill Schofield and her team at the University of East Anglia investigating how long term foster care is planned and supported following the DfE 2015 Regulations and Guidance for long-term foster care. An important part of the project are short surveys to be completed by managers of independent reviewing officers, and looked after children/foster care services. They are also analysing national data on children in long-term foster care and their pathways and conducting interviews with selected managers.

why is the research necessary?

In 2015 the Government introduced the first regulations and guidance for long-term foster care in England (Department for Education 2015.) The aim was to support long-term foster care as a permanence option and promote stable, secure and successful placements.

Local authorities were also required for the first time to identify children in long-term foster placements in their SSDA903 submissions to the Department for Education.  However, in 2018, for the third year in succession, the Department for Education was not able to publish the data on long-term foster care placements because of concerns about data quality.

This important study will provide policy makers and agencies with information on whether and how the 2015 Regulations and Guidance have been implemented and how procedures and practice across the country are now working to support long-term fostering as a permanence option for looked after children.

iro managers please complete

It is not too late to participate in this important research and thereby help to shape national policy and practice.

The Nuffield research team ideally need a national picture that will be fed back to the DfE, CORAM BAAF, CAFCASS, NIROMP and the other members of their steering group.

Please complete the survey via the link below:


The project has approval from the ADCS Research Committee. Individual organisations will not be named in reports of findings, unless the research team are given explicit consent for identification e.g. in the case of showcasing good practice.


Findings from this important research will inform policy makers and practice, and will be circulated to all respondents.

If you have any questions or prefer a Word version of the survey, please get  in touch with the lead researcher Julie Young:

Further information about the research can be downloaded below:

thank you

Thank you in advance for your help. It is essential that long-term foster care placements are well planned and supported and that local authorities and courts, as well as children and families, have confidence in this permanence option.

Your help is much appreciated.

With kind regards,

Sharon Martin

Chair, National IRO Managers Partnership

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