Lasting Relationships in Foster Care: Research for Practice Summary

Mandi MacDonald, Gerry Marshall

Research output: Book/ReportOther report

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Enabling young people in foster care to benefit from lasting supportive relationships is a priority - long-term foster care is intended to provide stable, continuous, caring relationships that last throughout childhood into adult life. However, many care leavers have highlighted the challenge of feeling isolated and having to navigate early adulthood without a strong social network . So while continuous relationships with caring adults matter to young people in care and are fundamental to securing better outcomes , we need a better understanding of how to achieve this.
The Relationships that Last research project aimed to learn about effective foster care practice from formerly fostered adults who have maintained relationships with their foster family into adulthood. From a critical best practice approach , we aimed to identify the active ingredients of these lasting relationships, and what worked well to create the conditions in which they could thrive.
In this brief research for practice report we outline key messages from the research, offer reflective prompts for social workers involved with looked after children or family placements, and make suggestions for foster care practice.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Foster Care
  • Relational permanence
  • leaving care


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