Permanently Progressing? – Building secure futures for children in Scotland is a ground breaking research study run jointly by teams at the University of Stirling and the University of York and in collaboration with the Adoption and Fostering Alliance (AFA) Scotland.

The research compares the pathways and outcomes for young children in Scotland who are permanently placed away from home.

The team in Stirling is led by Dr Helen Whincup (PI) and includes Dr Andressa GaddaDr Margaret Grant, Jade Hooper, Dr Marina Shapira, Dr Sarah Wilson working with Professor Nina Biehal (co-PI University of York) and Dr Linda Cusworth (University of Lancaster)

In 2015-16, 11,447 children in Scotland were looked after by local authorities away from home and were ‘accommodated’ in foster care, residential placements or with relatives due to concerns about their welfare. While many children were returned to their parents, for some the decision was taken to permanently place them with adoptive parents, long-term foster carers or kinship carers. Permanently Progressing explores the pathways taken by children in Scotland to reach these permanent substitute homes.

The ground breaking research study examines some key questions regarding these pathways with a large cohort of children in Scotland who were accommodated in 2012-13, when they were five years old or under.

Questions included:

  • How are decisions made?
  • How long do children wait?
  • What promotes feelings of belonging?
  • How do children fare in relation to their health, social relationships and educational progress?

Upcoming event

Wednesday 19th September 2018, University of Stirling will host an exciting one day event that will present the key findings and core themes from the study, and will contribute to policy, practice and research in Scotland, across the UK and internationally.

The day is aimed at practitioners, decision makers, policy makers and researchers/academics and adoptive parents/carers

Scotland’s Poet Laureate, Jackie Kay, author of ‘The Adoption Papers‘, and alumnus of the University of Stirling will contribute to the day.

Save the date in your diary and you will be able to sign up from the end of March 2018.

Further details on Permanently Progressing?

Twitter: @PermProg


Contact: Dr Maggie Grant –

2017 Project Summary