Fiona Lettice discusses updates from The Relationships in Good Hands Trial (RIGHT)

You may remember reading about the RIGHT trial in an earlier article from May 2023.

The Trial is being led by child and adolescent psychiatrist, Professor Helen Minnis from the University of Glasgow. Professor Minnis is also a patron of SAIA.

In Scotland, the trial is being carried out in Lanarkshire, and we are now recruiting families from 22 sites throughout Scotland, England and Wales. Almost 80 families are already participating in the trial, and we are looking for more adoptive and foster families with children aged 5-12 to take part.

RIGHT is looking at the clinical and cost-effectiveness of Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP) for children who were abused or neglected in their early life and are now in adoptive or permanent foster placements.

Why is this important?

Nearly all adopted or fostered children in the UK have been abused and neglected in their early life and many will experience mental health problems, behavioural and relationship issues and difficulties in school.  Abused and neglected children are more likely than others to become homeless, get involved in crime and even die young (e.g. from suicide), yet we have no fully tested treatments for their complex mental health problems. This is a huge problem because early treatment could greatly improve their life chances – and reduce strain on health and social care budgets.

Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP) is a parent-child therapy that takes around 20 sessions and focusses on “Playfulness, acceptance, Curiosity and Empathy”. Many UK therapists like DDP, but it is a big commitment for families. Once a week for about six months children will need time off school, their parents will need time off work – and this can be hard to explain to school friends, colleagues and bosses. We don’t yet know whether DDP is more successful than any other therapy – or no therapy at all. Researchers at the University of Glasgow are now trying to find this out. We don’t just need to know if DDP improves children’s mental health – we also need to know if the commitment needed is worth it for families and whether the costs to services outweigh the benefits.

What impact will the research have?

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines say abused and neglected children need help from health AND social care but, in practice, families often bounce around services without getting what they need. This study will make recommendations about how services should work together to help abused and neglected children and their families. Adoptive parents, foster carers and young people who have been in care as well as Health and Social Care Commissioners have advised us and will continue to do so throughout the study. If we find that DDP is worth the time and money, it could improve the mental health of abused and neglected children.

We are looking for more participants in Lanarkshire, so please spread the word to any adoptive and permanent foster families with children aged 5-12 living in the area.

Get in touch to find out more at

Share this post

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. For further information please read our Privacy Policy.

Skip to content