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We’re starting the first research study into MBT as an intervention for children in foster care

We are pleased to announce a new research study which aims to test the effectiveness of an adaptation of Mentalization-Based Treatment (MBT) for children in foster care and their carers.

Approximately 60,000 children and young people are in foster care in England, and over 50% are in care as due to abuse and neglect. Research indicates that as a result a large number of these children and young people present with emotional and behavioural difficulties. However, the most effective treatment for this group is currently unknown. 

The study is currently recruiting children between 5 and 16 years of age who are in foster care and have been offered treatment within Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) in Hertfordshire. Children as well as their foster carers will be randomly allocated to receive the usual clinical care that the CAMHS team currently offer, or MBT. The research team aim to recruit 42 children and their foster families over a 12 month period. 

This research project is being funded through the Research for Patient Benefit Programme, part of the NIHR Long Term Conditions in Children and Young People Themed Call.  It is being conducted in collaboration with staff at the Hertfordshire Partnership NHS trust and the University of Hertfordshire.

Nick Midgley, Chief Investigator of the study, said 

“We know that children in foster care are among the most vulnerable young people in society, and that there is limited evidence on what helps those of them who are experiencing mental health difficulties. The funding from the NIHR under their themed call on ‘Long term conditions in children’ shows how serious the NHS is about trying to find ways to meet these children’s needs better. Working together with a specialist CAMHS team in Hertfordshire, we are very excited at the possibility that this new application of MBT could make a real difference to young people’s lives.” 

For more details on the research study, please visit Herts and Minds: MBT for children in foster care