Plain English Summary
Background and study aims
Many looked after children and young people in Wales are being cared for by foster or kinship carers. Looked after children and young people are more likely to have poorer emotional, mental and educational outcomes compared to other children and young people. This can lead to an increased strain on carers and a higher likelihood of placement disruption. The importance of continuity of care for looked after children has long been established. Training may provide foster and kinship carers with skills to manage difficult emotions and behaviours, and thus reduce placement disruption. The Fostering Changes programme was developed by the Adoption and Fostering National Team at the Maudsley Hospital, South London, in conjunction with King’s College London in order to provide practical support and training for foster carers. The aim of this study is to find out whether the Fostering Changes programme improves carer efficacy compared to standard support given to carers.
Who can participate?
Carers who have a child aged 2+ placed with them and expect to be caring for that child for the duration of the Fostering Changes course.
What does the study involve?
Participants are randomly allocated to one of two groups. Those in the first group attend the Fostering Changes course immediately. This involves weekly three-hour long sessions over a period of 12 weeks that aim to increase carer skills and coping strategies and improve the relationship between carer and child. Participants in the second group receive the programme 12 months later (at the end of the study) and receive usual care in the meantime. At the start of the study and then after three and 12 months, participants in both groups complete a range of questionnaires in order to find out if Fostering Changes has a positive effect for carers that lasts beyond the end of the course.
What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
There may be no direct benefits to anyone taking part in this study. The study is being undertaken to find out whether or not the Fostering Changes programme is helpful to foster carers and the children they look after. The results of the study may benefit other foster carers and looked after children in the future. There are no notable risks to foster carers or their looked after children associated with this study.
Where is the study run from?
South East Wales Trials Unit, Centre for Trials Research (UK)
When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
April 2015 to March 2020
Who is funding the study?
The Big Lottery Fund (UK)
Who is the main contact?
Professor Michael Robling
Prof Michael Robling
South East Wales Trials Unit
Centre for Trials Research
College of Biomedical & Life Sciences
Cardiff University SOCSI Ethics Committee ref: SREC1515
A randomised trial to evaluate the effectiveness the fostering changes course, as part of the confidence in care programme, on carer efficacy and carer defined problems for Welsh foster and kinship carers
The aim of this study is to ascertain whether the Confidence in Care Fostering Changes intervention improves carer efficacy at 12 month follow-up compared to usually provided carer support alone.
Cardiff University School of Social Sciences Ethics Committee, 04/06/2015, ref: SREC1515
Randomised controlled trial
Primary study design
Secondary study design
Randomised controlled trial
Quality of life
Patient information sheet
Not available in web format, please use the contact details below to request a patient information sheet
Carers will be randomised to one of two groups in a 2:1 ratio (intervention:control)
Intervention group: Participants will attend the Fostering Changes course immediately. This is a 12 week training programme that aims to increase carer skills and coping strategies and improve the relationship between carer and child. Each session in the 12 week Fostering Changes course will last 3 hours.
Control group: Participants will receive the Fostering Changes course after 12 months, and will receive usual services in the meantime.
At baseline, 3 and 12 months, how well the carers in both groups feel able to care for the children in their care is assessed. In addition, the study team will also measure whether children and young people in their care have had any unplanned moves to different carers.
Primary outcome measure
Carer efficacy is measured using the Carer efficacy questionnaire at baseline, 3 and 12 months
Secondary outcome measures
1. Placement stability is measured using questionnaire at baseline, 3 and 12 months
2. Engagement with education is measured using questionnaire at baseline, 3 and 12 months
3. Carer-defined problems are measured using the Carer defined problems scale (CDPS) at baseline, 3 and 12 months
4. Carer coping strategies is measured using the Carer coping strategies (CCS) at baseline, 3 and 12 months
5. Carer-child relationship is measured using the Quality of attachment relationship (QUARQ) and Strengths and difficulties Questionnaires (SDQ) at baseline, 3 and 12 months
6. Use of services and supports is measured using questionnaire at baseline, 3 and 12 months
Overall trial start date
Overall trial end date
Reason abandoned (if study stopped)
Participant inclusion criteria
1. Local authority carers or employed by an independent or not-for profit agency or family carers (kin-carers and non-related foster carers)
2. Currently have a child aged 2+ placed with them and expect to be caring for that child for the duration of the Fostering Changes course.
3. Prepared to attend all 12 sessions of the programme.
4. Sufficient understanding of English / Welsh to complete the intervention
Target number of participants
Participant exclusion criteria
1. Attended the Fostering Changes programme previously
2. Have a foster child attending the children’s skills group
3. Live in the same household as another carer participated in the CiC Evaluation.
Recruitment start date
Recruitment end date
Countries of recruitment
Trial participating centre
South East Wales Trials Unit, Centre for Trials Research
South East Wales Trials Unit Centre for Trials Research College of Biomedical & Life Sciences Cardiff University 7th Floor, Neuadd Meirionnydd Heath Park
The Big Lottery Fund
Funding Body Type
Funding Body Subtype
Results and Publications
Publication and dissemination plan
Planned publication in a high-impact peer reviewed journal.
IPD Sharing plan:
The current data sharing plans for the current study are unknown and will be made available at a later date.
Intention to publish date
Participant level data
To be made available at a later date
Basic results (scientific)