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Title: The participation of looked after children in permanency planning
Author: Turpie, J.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2005
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Children’s rights have achieved considerable legal status in Scotland, propelled by both the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Children (Scotland) Act 1995. Now in key areas of law, children have the right to be consulted and have their views considered when major decisions are being taken that affect their lives. At the same time, adults have the responsibility to protect children and to prioritise children’s best interest in making such decisions. Although legislation and policy are increasingly emphasising children’s participation rights, it is less clear to what extent these rights are realised for children in practice. This is a particularly salient issue for looked after children, as their lives are governed by a number of adults in various settings. Furthermore, looked after children are generally subjected to more formal decision making processes than their peers. This study looks at one such process: decisions on permanency planning, which involve children growing up in the foster care system, away from their birth families. It asks how and to what extent these children’s views are given ‘due regard’ in such decision making processes. This study argues that, despite child care legislation and policy advancing children’s participation rights, translating these procedural rights in permanency planning practice is limited. Drawing on a review of current legislation and policy, in-depth interviews with looked after children, social workers and other professionals, and a review of a sample of looked after children’s files from one Scottish local authority, this study explores the inherent complexities of incorporating children’s participation rights into permanency planning practice. In doing so, it argues that a series of interacting factors, for example the uncertainties and inconsistencies associated with permanency planning and protecting children from potentially harmful and/or uncertain information and processes act as unintended barriers to looked after children’s participation in, arguably the most significant decision affecting their childhoods.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available