• Kimberley Marsh

Student thesis: Phd


This thesis provides an exploration into the extent to which different types of care environment are criminogenic. It investigates: kinship; foster; and residential care, from the perspectives of care leavers, members of the Leaving Care Team [LCT] and carers. The research looks at experiences: before; during; and after care, with quantitative risk assessment and semi structured interviews. The overall aim of this thesis is to evaluate the extent to which different types of care environments have the propensity to be criminogenic and highlight what can be changed to improve life chances of looked after children, free from offending.In order to do so, the following research questions were central: are care environments criminogenic?; to what extent does the Risk and Protective Factors Paradigm [RPFP] successfully measure this?;to what extent does attachment to significant others help answer this question?; and what, if anything, can be done to reduce criminogenic risk in care?The main findings within the risk assessments showed residential placements to be the most criminogenic, with the highest increase of risk 'during care' and reduction after care. Foster placements had constant risk levels, showing concerns with the ability of foster care to reduce risk. With kinship placements being seen as the least criminogenic. All participant groups, showed Living arrangements, Emotional/Mental Health and Family /Personal Relationships to be the biggest influence to offending. The central findings from the semi structured interviews were as follows: attachment underpins the experience of risk; Clear differences within institutional versus family settings, with long term foster care offering same outcomes as kinship; having 'no one to let down' was the most cited reason for offending.The recommendations were as follows: Recommendations for research: urgent prospective longitudinal studies focused on attachment in care and its consequences on risk and offending.Recommendations for practitioners: focus on attachment; listen to the cared-for and carers more closely and consistently. Recommendations for policy makers: invest in and plan for high quality care for all placements; transform residential care, moving away from authoritarian parenting practices; have a 'care-revolution' in terms of attachment-focussed training, monitoring and practice; mainstream family preservation/early intervention programmes (alternatives to care) and massively recruit foster- and kin-carers.
Date of Award31 Dec 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorJonathan Shute (Supervisor) & Hannah Quirk (Supervisor)


  • care
  • criminogenic
  • criminality

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