Understanding Early Permanence

Project Dates

June 2019 - April 2021


Barnardos, Caritas Care and Adoption Matters

Project Summary

The Centre for Child and Family Justice Research has been commissioned to undertake a small-scale mixed methods research study by a consortium of agencies (Barnardos, Caritas Care and Adoption Matters) delivering early permanence services in three areas of England (The North West, Yorkshire and Humber, and Staffordshire/Stoke).

The following research questions underpin the study:

1)     What does the national published data tell us about the use of early permanence nationally and regionally?

2)     What are the key messages from national and international research literature relating to early permanence approaches?

3)     What are the key messages from wider adoption literature regarding indicators for stability and child health and wellbeing in adoptive placements, and how might these be helpful in the development and delivery of early permanence approaches?

4)     What do we understand about local authorities’ decision-making and strategic direction in relation to early permanence pathways?

5)     What is understood about differences and similarities between Concurrent Planning and Fostering for Adoption in policy and practice and in what ways are these differences evident in practice delivery?

The findings from this study will inform both current early permanence practice and development. It is also hoped that this small-scale mixed methods study will form the first stage of a larger-scale research project, should future funding be secured.

Research Team

Claire Mason (Principal Investigator) is a Research Fellow at The Centre for Family Justice at Lancaster University. Claire has practiced and researched in the field of children and families’ social care for more than 20 years and has a particular interest in the interface between research and practice and on supporting practice change. Claire has worked on a range of research projects at local, regional and national level including a national project investigating the issue of women in recurrent care proceedings and most recently the Born into Care series of work focussing on newborns in care proceedings.

Rebecca Brown (lead researcher) is a researcher and PHD student at Lancaster University. Rebecca has 15 years experience of research to inform policy and practice within the children’s social care field. Rebecca is particularly interested in decision-making and outcomes for very young children in, or on the edges of, care. Alongside Rebecca’s role at Lancaster University, she also provides consultancy for the NSPCC, Department for Education and Research in Practice.


For further details contact Rebecca Brown (r.brown14@lancaster.ac.uk)

Upcoming event: Launch of final report from "Understanding Early Permanence" research study

About the event

This event is now fully booked. Please note, we are operating a waiting list, if you would like to be added, please email your Name, Job Title and Organisation to jenny.macquire@adoptionmatters.org

Date: Wednesday, 10 March 2021, 1pm – 4:30pm

Location: Online via Zoom, the event is free of charge. 

The research report:

The report is compiled from a small-scale mixed methods research study funded by Adoption Matters, Caritas Care and Barnardo’s voluntary adoption agencies who deliver early permanence adoption services for children in three areas of England.

The study aims specifically to explore early permanence pathways for young children through fostering for adoption and concurrent planning.

It comprises a rapid review of research evidence; analysis of published national data regarding early permanence; a questionnaire with Local Authority senior managers; interviews with Regional Adoption Agency managers; and focus groups with voluntary adoption agency practitioners. This report will bring together key messages from the study and to further understanding about early permanence approaches, how they can be better developed and the outcomes for children placed.

The event:

Rebecca Brown and Claire Mason from Lancaster University will present the report. Other confirmed contributors include:

Dr. John Simmonds OBE, Director of Policy, Research and Development at CoramBAAF

Other speakers / contributors and full agenda to be confirmed soon.

A full copy of the research report will be sent to all registered attendees after the event.

If you have any queries regarding this event, please email: jenny.macquire@adoptionmatters.org

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