The Department for Education and Skills commissioned the Adoption Research Initiative (ARi) to contribute to the evaluation of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 and various related the policy initiatives which aimed to:
- Improve planning for permanence for looked after children.
- Increase the number of children adopted from, or otherwise placed permanently out of, care.
- Reduce delay in the relevant social work and court processes.
- Improve adoption services, particularly support services.
- Put the needs and rights of the child at the centre of the adoption process.
The ARi includes studies which focus on previously under-researched aspects of adoption policy and practice.
There are seven studies within the Adoption Research Initiative. They address four broad themes: permanency planning and professional decision-making, linking and matching, adoption support and the costs of adoption. They also complement other recently-reported research on the full range of placements for looked after children, including kinship care, foster care, residential care, private fostering and return home.
All the studies completed by late 2010. An overview of the findings from the programme was published in 2013. Click here to download.
The Initiative was coordinated by Caroline Thomas, University of Stirling. During 2010 and early 2011 Caroline worked in partnership with Mary Beek who was seconded from Norfolk County Council to the Department for Education’s Adoption Team. Caroline also worked closely with Richard Bartholomew, Isabella Craig and Julie Wilkinson in the Department for Education's Research and Analysis Division. In addition she regularly liaised with Mary Lucking, Charmaine Church and their colleagues in the Department’s Adoption Team.