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Findings Report and Draft Guidelines Published

The full peer reviewed research report and draft guidelines, grounded in systematic research with 8 local authority areas and corresponding health trusts in England and Wales, are published today.

The research identified consensus among frontline practitioners and parents about what constitutes best practice when local authorities issue care proceedings at birth – but also uncovered numerous challenges, ranging from discontinuities, delays and resource constraints to risk-averse practice, shortfalls in a family-inclusive practice, insufficient professional specialism and poor inter-agency collaboration. The need for a more consistent sensitive approach to practice, underpinned by understandings of trauma is emphasised. The need for more training, supervision and support for professionals working in this emotionally challenging area of practice is also recommended.

The draft guidelines, grounded in the research include a series of aspirational statements for each stage of the parents’ journey and provide examples of how these statements can be translated into best practice. They consider how to overcome challenges at both a strategic level and in frontline practice. They also include examples of innovations from practice drawn from across England and Wales.

Between now and August 2022, the participating local authorities and NHS trusts are working with the team to test the feasibility of the guidelines. The intention is for the guidelines to be used as a basis for developing local area action plans and locality specific guidelines, within the context of national guidance. Findings from this feasibility study will inform a final version of the guidelines, which will be published later in 2022.

Accompanying reviews led by the Oxford Team also published 24th February

Two additional reviews undertaken as part of the research and led by the Rees Centre are also published today.

The first, a review of guidance in eight participating local authorities covers professional practice concerning parent/infant separation within the first few days of life. Whilst the second, an evidence review of families’ experiences of perinatal loss, identifies key messages that may be applicable to practice surrounding separation at birth. Both reports provide important background and context when considering improving practices surrounding separation at birth.

Read more about Born into Care on the project page. and on the University of Oxford website.

Ecorys, the Rees Centre at University of Oxford, and Ipsos MORI have been appointed by the Department for Education to explore the potential of a seminal study to independently research the needs, experiences and outcomes for children and young people leaving care on Adoption Orders (AOs) and Special Guardianship Orders (SGOs).

There is currently limited research around how these two routes to permanence affect children’s long-term outcomes as they progress into adolescence and adulthood. We hope to follow the lives of young people aged 12-21 growing up in adoption and special guardianship families.

The purpose is to help:

  • Assess the long-term outcomes for children growing up in adoption and special guardianship families;
  • Support improved outcomes for children by enhancing our understanding of what influences the support needs and outcomes for adoptive families and special guardianship families;
  • Understand the role of key stakeholders in supporting outcomes for previously looked after children, and the impact this has on their outcomes; and
  • Support improved decision making by LAs and courts on permanency options for children who cannot return home to live with their birth parents.

Over the next six months, we will conduct a feasibility study to explore how best to approach families and encourage involvement in a longitudinal study. We will consult with stakeholders from the adoption, Special Guardianship sector and families to help us design the research and make plans to pilot the next stage.

The final reporting is scheduled for 2028.

More information on the project can be found on the study’s project page.

With a background in education and project management, Hannah is a Project Administrator for the Rees Centre.

She provides administrative support to a variety of projects, focussing on the Nuffield project, and acts as PA to our Director.

Abdul Karim has completed a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Computational Medicine (Imperial College London), a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Queen Mary University of London), and Master of Science in the Philosophy of Science and Economics (The London School of Economics).

He has delivered lectures on the Philosophy of Human Nature and the History of Metaethics at the University of Cambridge and for Health Education East Midlands. This, in addition to the current positions he holds as a Hospital Doctor and Health Policy and Management Advisor at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Abdul Karim’s current areas of interest include the biological definition of psychological states relevant to the learning environment, and the influence of language on the variable interpretation of a particular social context. For the latter of which he has published primary research.

Another is the appraisal and deployment of physiological measurement devices in learning environments as a means of quantitatively evaluating psychological states. Such research areas hold promise in enhancing the questionnaire-based evidences of contemporary theories in education, such as those regarding motivation, self-determination and engagement. This will to contribute to the evidence-based public policy optimisation in education and social care.



Ismail, A.K. 2017. A Cross Sectional Study to Explore the Effect of the Linguistic Origin and Evolution of a Language on Patient Interpretation of Haematological Cancers. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 225-232.

Ismail, A.K. 2017. The Origin of the Arabic Medical Term for Cancer. Advances in Biological Research. 11 (4): 198-201.

Ismail, A.K. 2018. The Impact of da Vinci’s Anatomical Drawings and Calculations on Foundation of Orthopaedics. Advances in Biological Research. 12 (1): 26-30.


Dr Priya Tah, Research Officer at the Rees Centre, University of Oxford


This webinar will explore the journey to attachment and trauma awareness of three primary and two special schools taking part in the Timpson Programme. We will discuss important changes in policy and practice, adaptation of behaviour policies and the positive impact on young people, stemming from the attachment and trauma training carried out at each school. We hope you can join us!

To access the event, please click through to the Microsoft Teams link.


This webinar series is linked to our research programme, The Alex Timpson Attachment and Trauma Programme in Schools.


Please contact

Georgia is a Research Officer in the Rees Centre. She is currently working on the Alex Timpson Attachment and Trauma Programme in Schools, primarily involved in qualitative data analysis. Georgia is also working on a British Academy funded project about care-experienced academics working in higher education.

Georgia came to research from a legal background. She initially worked as a researcher in the Centre for Child and Family Research at Loughborough University, where she was involved in multiple research and evaluation projects including, a prospective longitudinal study of children identified in infancy as likely to suffer significant harm; evaluations for the Department for Education Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme; and research on return home from care. More recently, Georgia worked as a Development Researcher at the NSPCC, involved in the development of local services for children and families from concept through to scale up.

Her primary research interests are transitions from care (e.g. transitions from care into adulthood, returning home from care) and the role of education in supporting and providing opportunities for vulnerable children. Georgia’s PhD focused on care leavers’ experiences of higher education in England.


Journal articles

Harrington, L., McElearney, A. and Hyde-Dryden, G. (2021) Adapting the Pregnancy in Mind (PiM) support service to virtual delivery. Journal of Birth and Parent Education, 8 (3).

Margolis, R., Jackson-Hollis, V., Hyde-Dryden, G., Robson-Brown, E., Smith, E. and McConnell, N (2020) Families facing multiple adversities: impact and interventions. Paediatrics and Child Health 30(11), 390-394.

Ward, H., Brown, R., Blackmore, J., Hyde-Dryden, G. and Thomas, C. (2019) Identifying parents who show capacity to make and sustain positive changes when infants are at risk of significant harm. Developing Practice: The Child, Youth and Family Work Journal, 54, 45-61.

McDermid, S., Hyde-Dryden, G. and Ward, H. (2015) Looking for long-term outcomes: What early interventions are needed for children and young people at risk of maltreatment in England? Irish Journal of Applied Social Studies, 15 (2), 36-49.

Hyde-Dryden, G. (2015) Overcoming self-reliance and lack of expectation among care leavers in higher education in England: the role of inter-agency working. Swiss Journal of Social Work, 16, 75-93, (Special issue).

Munro, E., Pinkerton, J., Mendes, P., Hyde Dryden, G., Herczog, M. and Benbenishty, R. (2011) The contribution of the UNC for the rights of the child to understanding and promoting the interests of young people making the transition from care to adulthood. Children and Youth Services Review 33 (12), 2417-2423.



McElearney, A., Murphy, C., Fullerton, D., Hyde-Dryden, G., Cosette, A. and Morris, S. (2021) School staff, parents and carers’ views and experience of the Keeping Safe whole-school education programme: Lessons from the process evaluation for teaching children to recognise abusive behaviours and tell. London: NSPCC.

McElearney, A., Hyde-Dryden, G., Walters, H., Palmer, L., Coulter, K. and Adamson, G. (2021) Process evaluation of Virtual Pregnancy in Mind during the Covid-19 pandemic. London: NSPCC.

McElearney, A., Hyde-Dryden, G., Palmer, L. and Walters, H. (2021) Reflections and learning from our local service response to families during Covid-19. London: NSPCC.

McElearney, A., Palmer, L., Walters, H., and Hyde-Dryden, G. (2020) Learning from adapting the Baby Steps programme in response to COVID-19. London: NSPCC.

Hyde-Dryden, G. and Ward, H. (2017) Towards a Family Justice Observatory – A Scoping Study: Main Findings Report of the International Scoping Exercise. Available at:

Lushey, C., Hyde-Dryden, G., Holmes, L. and Blackmore, J. (2017) No Wrong Door evaluation report. London: Department for Education.

Holmes, L, Thomas, C, Hyde-Dryden, G, Williams, A (2017) Firstline evaluation report. London: Department for Education

Brown, R., Ward, H., Blackmore, J., Thomas, C. and Hyde-Dryden, G. (2016) Children identified in infancy as likely to suffer, significant harm: a prospective longitudinal study: age eight follow-up, London: Department for Education.

Hyde-Dryden, G., Gibb, J., Lea, J., Buckley, E., Holmes, L., Wallace, E., Lushey, C. and Lawson, D. (2015) Improving practice in respect of children who return home from care: Research report. London: Department for Education.

Hyde-Dryden G., Holmes L., Lawson D. and Blackmore J. (2015) Taking Care Practice Framework for Reunification evaluation report. Loughborough: Centre for Child and Family Research, Loughborough University.

Ward, H., Brown, R. and Hyde Dryden, G. (2014) Assessing Parental Capacity to Change when Children are on the Edge of Care: An Overview of Research Evidence, Childhood Wellbeing Research Centre Report, London: Department for Education.