Multi-dimensional Treatment Foster Care for adolescents with complex needs. Seminar

Thursday 28 June 2012, 9.30AM to 11:45

Speaker(s): Prof. Nina Biehal, Research Director, Social Policy Research Unit, University of York

The focus of these seminars is to present recent research and related findings and to explore their potential implementation in policy and practice. This seminar is aimed at staff with policy, operational or training responsibilities for the development and delivery of children’s services in social work and social care, as well as those working in health and education

Although many adolescents do well in foster and residential care, some are particularly challenging to care for due to their complex needs. It is often difficult to meet the needs of this group and, as a result, adolescents are more likely to experience placement breakdown than younger children. To tackle this problem, various specialist fostering schemes have been developed over the last 40 years or so. One of the best known is Multi-dimensional Foster Care (MTFC), which has been implemented in 18 English local authorities since 2004.  Like many evidence-based programmes this was developed and tested in the USA, so it is essential to know to what extent it may be useful in work with children in this country.

This seminar will discuss the findings of two government-funded evaluations of MTFC used with adolescents in England, which were completed by Nina Biehal and her colleagues at the universities of York and Manchester. One study evaluated MTFC-A, which aimed to improve outcomes and reduce placement breakdown for 11-16 year olds with complex needs who were already looked after. A smaller study tested the effectiveness of MTFC when used as an alternative to custody for young offenders.  The seminar will describe the MTFC programme and discuss how far it was effective in improving outcomes for children and young people. It will also discuss the challenges that can arise when implementing an evidence-based programme in a  children’s services setting.

Professor Nina Biehal is a former social worker who leads a research team at the Social Policy Research Unit at the University of York. Over the past 20 years she has researched and published widely in the area of social work and related services for vulnerable groups of children and young people, including looked after children, adopted children, adolescents on the edge of care and young offenders. She is a member of various national and international child welfare research networks. Her recent publications include: Caring for Abused and Neglected Children: Making the Right Decisions for Reunification or Long-Term Care (2011), Jessica Kingsley Publishers (with Jim Wade, Nicola Farrelly and Ian Sinclair) and Belonging and Permanence: Outcomes in Long-term Foster Care and Adoption (2010) BAAF (with Sarah Ellison, Claire Baker and Ian Sinclair).

Location: University of York

Admission: FREE to subscribing agencies - see flyer or £50

Email: jp42@york.ac.uk

Telephone: 01904 421218

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