The Reflective Fostering Programme—improving the wellbeing of children in care through a group intervention for foster carers: a randomised controlled trial

Midgley, Nick, Irvine, Karen, Rider, Beth, Byford, Sarah, Cirasola, Antonella, Ganguli, Poushali, Katangwe-Chigamba, Thando, Murdoch, Jamie, Pond, Martin, Pursch, Benita, Redfern, Sheila, Richards, Zena Louise, Shepstone, Lee, Sims, Erika, Smith, Caroline, Sprecher, Eva, Swart, Ann Marie, Wyatt, Solange and Wellsted, David (2021) The Reflective Fostering Programme—improving the wellbeing of children in care through a group intervention for foster carers: a randomised controlled trial. Trials, 22 (1). ISSN 1745-6215

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Abstract

Background: The needs of children in care are a government priority, yet the evidence base for effective interventions to support the emotional wellbeing of children in care is lacking. Research suggests that supporting the carer-child relationship, by promoting the carer’s reflective parenting, may be an effective approach to improving the wellbeing of these children. Methods: The study comprises a definitive, superiority, two-armed, parallel, pragmatic, randomised controlled trial, with embedded process evaluation and economic evaluation, and an internal pilot, to evaluate the effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness, of the Reflective Fostering Programme. Randomisation is at the individual level using a 1:1 allocation ratio. The study is being conducted in local authority sites across England, and is targeted at foster carers (including kinship carers) looking after children aged 4 to 13. Consenting participants are randomly allocated to the Reflective Fostering Programme (intervention arm) in addition to usual support or usual support alone (control arm). The primary outcome is behavioural and emotional wellbeing of the child 12 months post-baseline, and secondary outcomes include the following: foster carer’s level of stress, quality of life, reflective capacity, compassion fatigue and burnout, placement stability, the quality of the child-carer relationship, child’s capacity for emotional regulation, and achievement of personalised goals set by the carer. Discussion: A feasibility study has indicated effectiveness of the Programme in improving the child-carer relationship and emotional and behavioural wellbeing of children in care. This study will test the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of implementing the Reflective Fostering Programme as an additional aid to the support already available to local authority foster carers. Trial registration: ISRCTN 70832140.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding Information: This study/project is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) [name of NIHR programme (127422 Midgley/ Public Health Research]. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care. The Funder has no involvement in the design of the study or collection, analysis, and interpretation of data. Funding Information: We would like to thank the following: Hannah Wright for her input to study set-up and reviewing sections of the study protocol. NM is the Chief Investigator. He conceived and designed the study and led on the writing of the funding application. KI is the Trial Manager. She led the writing of the protocol and setting up the study. SR developed and leads the delivery of the Reflective Fostering Programme. SB is the Health Economic evaluation lead. She designed the economic evaluation component of the study. JM is the Process Evaluation Lead. He designed the process evaluation component of the study. MP is the Senior data manager. He has provided input to data management processes and development of the study database. ZR is a foster carer who is providing PPI input and has contributed to the study design. LS is the study statistician. He provided statistical input including sample size calculations. ES is a Senior Operations manager who provided operational advice for set-up and delivery of the study. CS is a senior social worker. She was the PI in the feasibility study that preceded this one and contributed to the design of the study. AMS is the Director of the NCTU. DW is a methodologist and contributed to the design of the study. SW provided clinical trials expertise particularly around governance, data management, and contracting. BR is a research assistant. She revised and reformatted the study protocol into the required format for publication. AC and ES are research officers and helped draft some sections of the study protocol. BP managed the clinical aspect of the study set-up and design. Thando Katangwe-Chigamba contributed to the development of the Process Evaluation. All authors contributed to the writing of the study protocol and read and approved the final manuscript. This study/project is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) [name of NIHR programme (127422 Midgley/ Public Health Research]. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care. The Funder has no involvement in the design of the study or collection, analysis, and interpretation of data. The datasets generated during the current study will be made available from the chief investigator on reasonable request for legitimate non-commercial research purposes, once the research team have had a reasonable period to meet funder expectations of publication. Publisher Copyright: © 2021, The Author(s).
Uncontrolled Keywords: children in care,foster care,parenting,reflective fostering programme,reflective parenting,medicine (miscellaneous),pharmacology (medical) ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/2700/2701
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2021 02:50
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2022 00:28
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/82472
DOI: 10.1186/s13063-021-05739-y

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