Research and Evaluation

Research and Evaluation

“This course improved my skills and taught me new ones, and made me feel less stressed and more able to cope with certain behaviours.”
Maria, foster carer and Fostering Changes course participant

In New Zealand research has found that…

  • 30% of children in care (CIC) require education support
  • 29% of CIC end up with a corrections sentence (5x higher than the normal population)
  • CIC make up 67% of the adult justice population
  • 41% of CIC have a mental health disorder (internationally this is recognised as 60%)
  • CIC make up 50% of all completed youth suicides
  • Up to 67% of female CIC are mothers within 18 months of leaving care
  • Recent CYF research indicates that a lifetime needs of CIC is around $750,000

Given these poor outcomes Incredible Families have committed to training other professionals, caregivers and grandparents in Fostering Changes.


We know that a child in care who has three or more placement breakdowns is at greatest risk of developing long-term needs.

Fostering Changes develops pro-social skills and teaches the CIC to self-regulate (this will reduce risk of developing mental health difficulties and anti-social behaviour).

Fostering Changes enables the CIC to access education (this is a protective factor and increases likelihood of the CIC achieving independence).

Fostering Changes supports caregivers in managing their own stress and communicating their needs (a protective factor in placement stability and improving attachments between caregivers and their children).


Does Fostering Changes have a research base?

Fostering Changes is one of the few evidence-based programmes for caregivers available internationally. The Fostering Changes Team in the UK have begun to train social workers, clinicians and more recently caregivers as facilitators.

Fostering Changes has been well evaluated as part of a randomised control trial. For more details please see the attached report.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children recently completed a review of all interventions for children in care and sighted Fostering Changes as one of the most promising.

Cardiff University recently released “In Good Hands”, which gathered robust evidence and drew on existing programmes to identify effective ways to improve the life chances of looked-after children and young people in Wales. It presented two potential models for the Big Lottery Fund’s consideration for long-term pilot investment, one of which was to roll out Fostering Changes.

How do we and our services evaluate outcomes?

In order to judge the programme’s effectiveness for a New Zealand population a variety of pre- and post- measures can be completed.

  • Home visit to the caregivers. During the visit the facilitators will have an opportunity to see the caregivers within their home and to think about how the house is run, what is important to the caregiver and explore their individual parenting practices. There are guidelines for this interview.
  • The pre-intervention questionnaires should be completed prior to the first session.
  • Finally post-intervention questionnaires must be completed on the final session.
  • Weekly feedback sheets to completed by all attendees.

The questionnaires have been chosen to measure several key areas.

  1. Attachment between carer and child
  2. Caregiver stress
  3. Behavioural difficulties
  4. Intervention effectiveness

Please click here for a PDF of Course Measures