Placement stability of children in out-of-home care

The overall aim of this study is to provide a detailed analysis of the longitudinal sequences of placements which looked after children in Scotland experience. This research project will provide the opportunity to assess the extent to which placement sequences have changed over the period in which a range of policy developments affecting looked after children have been implemented. This project has used Looked-After Children data from local authorities in Scotland. This project aims to use Scottish Pupil Census and Looked After Children data.

Key questions

This study aims to:

  • Compare annual sequences of placements over seven years of data, from year 2008/09 to 2014/15 for children of all ages. This will allow assessment of whether the patterns and stability of placements have changed over this period. 

  • Produce a series of age cohorts of children starting in the 2008/09 data and follow the trajectories of these cohorts over seven years. This will allow a description of the patterns and stability experienced by these children over a long period of time.

A second phase of the study will then examine the effect of the sequences identified above on children’s school attendance and school exclusion rates using the Scottish Government’s Attendance and Absence in Scottish Schools and Schools Exclusions data. It will also link to the Scottish Government’s Pupils in Scotland Census to provide some additional details of the child (e.g. ethnicity).

Project leads

Ben Matthews and Gillian Raab, University of Edinburgh, Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research (ADR Scotland).

This project is funded by ADR Scotland via its core grant from the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) as an ADR UK partner.

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