Children and Families Team
The Children and Families Team is led by Professor Bryony Beresford. The main focus of our work is on support relating to illness and disability in children and younger adults. Our work encompasses support from the many different agencies involved with chronically ill or disabled people: social services, health services, education and housing. We are particularly concerned to investigate ways in which such support takes account of the family context, and the ways carers and others in the family respond to and are affected by the care needs of the ill or disabled person. Central to this process is the issue of inter-agency working. Our past research has shown that lack of coordination of services is an ongoing problem for families. Recently, we have worked with services to investigate ways in which multi-agency coordination can be improved.
We have a particular, and long standing, interest in the needs of disabled or chronically ill children and their families. In the past, work in this area has largely concentrated on the accounts of adults, particularly parents. Yet, research has also shown that children’s and adults’ views differ, and adults cannot be used as proxies for children’s views. A striking omission in research on childhood illness and disability has been the lack of attention paid to the views of the children themselves. Being a child and being ill or disabled appears to have created a double disadvantage in relation to true involvement in research. Recognising this gap in knowledge, in a number of past and current projects we have focussed on the views of children about their needs and experiences and the support they receive from services.
We have a long established and influential Parent Consultation Group which informs our research procedures and helps us to maintain close links with the issues that affect disabled children and their families.We have also recently established a Young People's Consultation Group who we consult about our work and the issues that affect their lives. View a short video here, showing our consultation work with this group in 2010.
Care Co-ordination Network UK is a registered charity set up to establish a network of co-ordinated services for disabled children and their families. It started from a project in SPRU and has grown from there to become an independent charity which retains links to SPRU. Information on the aims of the network and how to find out more