The study by experts from York University will find out whether going into care can improve wellbeing and life chances or whether it compounds the effects of previous experiences of abuse or neglect.
Running for two years, the study will use the landmark Born in Bradford study, one of the biggest and most important medical research studies undertaken in the UK.
The world-leading study has been tracking the lives of 13,500 babies and their families since 2007 and will provide valuable information on children’s family circumstances before they entered care.
Prof Nina Biehal, from the university’s department of social policy and social work, who is leading the project, said: “Many people are concerned about poor outcomes for children in care, but research shows that for many children care actually improves their wellbeing.
“We do not yet know enough about whether abused and neglected children who go into care do better or worse when compared to similar children who are supported at home, rather than to all children in the wider population.
“We also need to understand more about how and when taking abused or neglected children into care might be the best way to help them and when it might be safe, and better, to support them at home in their families. This study aims to find out.”
The researchers will link information to two other studies which record children known to have experienced abuse or neglect and children who are admitted to care.