Draper, Rachel

Draper, Rachel
Start date:
October 2018
Research Topic:
The effectiveness and impact of attachment-informed interventions for adopted children
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Dr Katherine Shelton, Dr Cerith Waters
Supervising school:
School of Psychology,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Wales DTP

Children adopted from care have often lived through traumatic life experiences, with Selwyn, Meakings and Wijedasa (2015) estimating that 72% of adopted children have experienced some form of abuse or neglect prior to being adopted. Whilst research suggests being adopted has numerous developmental benefits for children with histories of complex trauma (Van Iijzendoorn & Juffer, 2006), many adopted children continue to struggle throughout childhood and adolescence and this distress is felt throughout the family system (Selwyn & Meakings, 2015). Despite Welsh Government calls for greater post-placement support for adoptive families (National Assembly for Wales Children and Young People Committee, 2012), provision of post-placement support across Wales is still somewhat varied and location-dependent (National Assembly for Wales Children and Young People and Education Committee, 2016). Furthermore, there is little empirical evidence to support the use of any one intervention with adoptive families, which leaves unanswered the question of what good post-placement support should look like.

My PhD research seeks to address this gap in the literature. The project involves a collaboration between Cardiff University, School of Psychology and Psychologists from Aneurin Bevan University Health Board working within the South East Wales Adoption Service. The aim is to use both research data and practice-based evidence from therapeutic work already happening in South Wales (this work uses an attachment-informed model influenced by Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy), with the ultimate aim of contributing to the conversation about effective post-placement support for adopted children and their families.