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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Community and Home Care
- Health(social science)