Dates: December 2020 – July 2022
Research team: Dr Kate Blake-Holmes, Dr Laura L. Cook, Dr Ruth Payne, Jen Coleman, Michael Bushell

The Enhanced Fostering Service (EFS) is a specialist service within Norfolk County Council (NCC). It was established in 2019 to support young people who require an enhanced level of support to manage the transition from residential to foster care. The EFS supports young people, foster carers and associated professionals from the initial planning, though the transition and for a year following the move to ensure stability and consistency throughout the process. Existing research focuses on young people’s moves between foster placements, entry and exit from care and transitions for young children moving from foster care to adoption. Little is known about how young people experience the transition from residential to foster care. This study aimed to:

  1. Evaluate the work of the EFS in supporting young people’s journeys 
  2. Capture the views of both young people and professionals on the transition from residential to foster care
  3. Learn from these experiences to enhance the support provided to young people and inform future service provision


Key Recommendations:

  1. Many young people in residential care have experienced numerous moves, uncertainty and instability through the course of their lives. It is therefore important for professionals to consider the impact, timing and way of introducing the possibility of another move. 
  2. Matches with foster carers who are known to the young person carry an elevated level of significance for the young person and must be carefully managed. It is important to explore foster carers’ motivations and expectations of the placement as well as consider how their relationship may change.
  3. It is important to develop a ‘getting to know you’ transition plan which is co-created by the young person and their foster carers. A clear plan, which includes ‘Where will I be, when, with whom and for how long?’ can help young people manage the transition process. 
  4. Young people need to feel connected to the important people in their life. Plans to maintain relationships with birth family, relatives and workers and friends from the residential unit should be an integral part of long-term care planning


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