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Internal Representations of Children and Adolescents in Care (Five Rivers)

Ongoing research and evaluation projects have been taking place with children and adolescents in both foster and residential care. These studies are part of a collaboration with Five Rivers Child Care Ltd. (FRCC), an independent fostering agency, that provides fostering, residential care and other services for children who have suffered neglect, abuse, trauma or family breakdown. 

As part of this, the Anna Freud Centre has been instrumental in supporting FRCC’s assessment process, including a range of standardised measures, and its research programme. Within the FRCC assessment protocol, initial assessments include a number of measures. These are completed at around three weeks following placement and repeated at yearly intervals.

There is a second level of assessment that is offered and provided for those children and young people whose scores on the primary measures demonstrate a raised level of concern. 

Several separate studies have already been published in journals around the assessment process, the experience of assessment protocol, the Story Stem Assessment Profile (SSAP), sexual abuse and dissociation. Further papers around reactive attachment, adolescent dissociation, conduct disorder and residential care are currently being submitted or are close to completion.

As part of ChAPTRe’s collaboration with Five Rivers, PhD student Asa Kerr-Davis is centring his doctoral research on the conceptualisation and assessment of epistemic trust within foster care relationships. His project comprises an interview study with care-experienced young people (aged 16-25) and foster carers from Five Rivers to explore their experiences of epistemic trust and mistrust within their fostering relationships and the development of a new epistemic trust code for the SSAP, using existing assessment data collected at Five Rivers.

Chief investigator: Dr Saul Hillman

Find out more about ChAPTRe