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The Reflective Fostering Study

A 12-month exploration assessing the impact of the Reflective Fostering Programme on children aged 4-13 in care.

The main goal of the Reflective Fostering Study is to learn if the Reflective Fostering Programme assists in improving the emotional wellbeing of children in care aged 4–13. We are also interested in learning whether the programme reduces stress and burnout among carers (both foster carers and connected carers) and if it has an impact on placement stability.

The study is comparing two randomly selected groups of foster carers, who will be followed up over a 12-month period:

  1. One group will continue to receive the usual support offered by their local authority or independent fostering agency.

  2. The other will be offered the same support, plus the Reflective Fostering Programme.

By having a comparison group, we will be able to see more clearly what difference the programme makes. By collecting this data after 4 and 12 months, we can see whether effects of the programme (if there are any) are stable and longer term. We will also be speaking in more detail to a small group of foster carers taking part in the study to understand the changes that may have taken place over this period and their experience of being in the study and the support they have received.

More information about the Reflective Fostering Programme and the Reflective Fostering Study is available on the ‘Research’ section of our website, and you can also read a detailed summary of the Reflective Fostering Study.


Midgley, N., Irvine, K., Rider, B., Byford, S., Cirasola, A., Ganguli, P., Katangwe-Chigamba, T., Murdoch, J., Pond, M., Pursch, B., Redfern, S., Richards, Z. L., Shepstone, L., Sims, E., Smith, C., Sprecher, E., Swart, A. M., Wyatt, S., & Wellsted, D. (2021). The Reflective Fostering Programme – improving the wellbeing of children in care through a group intervention for foster carers: A randomised controlled trial. Trials, 22(1), 841.  

Chief investigator: Professor Nick Midgley

Funder: National Institute for Health and Care Research

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