Social worker joins Oxford's Rees Centre to improve the lives of children in care

Social worker, Ms Gillian Plumridge, joins Oxford University's Rees Center under the direction of Professor Judy Sebba to develop her research skills and gain knowledge, which she can use in her practice with fostering providers, social workers and fostering panels.

Currently in England, almost 70,000 children live with more than 50,000 foster families. The Rees Centre, part of the University’s Department of Education, under the direction of Professor Judy Sebba OBE aims to improve the outcomes and life chances of these children by reviewing and conducting research and bringing it to the attention of those who can use it.

In 2016, Ms Gillian Plumridge, an experienced social worker, joined the Rees Centre as a Knowledge Exchange Fellow funded by a grant from the Higher Education Innovation Fund.  In addition to strengthening links between fostering services and the Rees Centre, the main output of the partnership was the development and testing of so-called ‘knowledge claims’ about fostering.  A knowledge claim is a statement describing practice that is well supported by research evidence, for example, that ‘involving established foster carers in recruitment of new carers boosts applications’. These statements can then be used by practitioners, like foster care providers, to see how far their current services reflect the best available evidence.

During her time at the Rees Centre, Ms Plumridge also had the opportunity to develop her research skills and gain knowledge and insights, which she can then use in her practice with fostering providers, social workers and fostering panels to the ultimate benefit of some of the most vulnerable members of our society.  

This project was funded through the University of Oxford's Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF 5) allocation.