Reflecting on outcomes for looked-after children: an ecological perspective

John Devaney, W. Coman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Despite huge investment over the past 10 years, improving outcomes for looked-after children remains elusive. A challenge for practitioners, researchers and policy-makers has been the absence of a shared conceptual framework for considering and responding to the needs of looked-after children. A second challenge relates to the measurement of outcomes. This article considers the measurement of outcomes and the multiple factors that contribute to outcomes for looked-after children. These include factors proximate to: the young person; birth family; placement; care system; children’s services; intra-agency dynamics; inter-agency dynamics; commissioning agents; and societal level. It then proposes an organising framework which provides the basis for reflecting on how multiple variables can interact to effect outcomes for looked-after children. The ecological perspective outlined in this article aims to facilitate reflection on the complex interplay between looked-after children and their environments and thereby to act as an aid to targeting interventions more effectively and efficiently.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-53
Number of pages17
JournalChild Care in Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Education
  • Community and Home Care
  • Pediatrics
  • Health(social science)

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