Jade Ward

Ms Jade Ward
Research and Participation Assistant
  • jade.ward@york.ac.uk
  • +44 (0) 1904 321270
  • Social Policy Research Unit, University of York, Heslington, York YO10 5DD

Jade graduated in 2015 with a degree specialising in Children, Young People and Families and has over 10 years' experience working with looked after children. Prior to coming to the University of York, Jade worked for a national charity where she was responsible for managing young people's participation across several projects as well as contributing to peer research studies as interview training facilitator. This included training young people in Local Authorities that came together to lobby local and national government to improve services and outcomes for care leavers; and creating a number of products and information guides on new legislation and guidance for care experienced young people, including information on 21+ entitlements and Staying Put. Since joining the University in 2014, Jade has worked across multiple projects with the aim of improving outcomes for children and young people.

Jade is a member of the Child Welfare Research Group, in the Department of Social Policy and Social Work, at the University of York.


  • BA (Hons) (Children, Young People and Families), York St John University

Current / recently completed research

Care Leavers' Transition into the Labour Market in England

March 2019 - August 2020

Using linked national datasets and interviews with stakeholders, this research explores factors and trajectories contributing to employability for care leavers. 

Break - Staying Close, Staying Connected Project

May 2018 - March 2020

An evaluation of a pilot project to test 'staying close' approaches for young people leaving residential care in England.

The House Project 2

April 2018 - April 2020

A two-year evaluation across five Local Authorities, looking at how young people are supported in their transition to independence from care.

Completed research

Brighter Futures for Care Leavers

June 2017 - November 2018

A consultation on outcomes and aftercare for young people leaving care in Ireland (funded by Focus Ireland).

Children Looked After Mental Health Project

May 2017 - December 2018

Using co-production to develop a training package for frontline workers (funded by ESRC).

The Right Home Evaluation

June 2015 - March 2017

The implementation and outcomes of a new accommodation and support project for young people in and at risk of entering care or becoming homeless (funded by Calderdale Council).  

The House Project

June 2015 - March 2017

An innovative approach to addressing the housing needs of care leavers (funded by Stoke-on-Trent Council). 

York Cares Bright Futures

September 2016 - November 2017

Supporting young people from care into employment (funded by ESRC).

The Step Change Evaluation

May 2015 - March 2016

Exploring the implementation and impact of social care interventions for young people in and on the edge of care across three London Boroughs (funded by Action for Children). 

Siblings Together

2013 - December 2016

Providing opportunities for planned, enjoyable, creative and high quality sibling contact for children living in different care arrangements (Rees Centre, University of Oxford).

Brighter Futures

May 2015 - July 2016

Building consistent relationships with young people in and on the edge of care, families, communities and carers to bring about sustained change.  

Corporate Parenting for Young People in Care: Making the Difference? 

January 2011 - January 2014

Aiming to discover more about the issues that face young people living in care, from their own perspective (funded by the Big Lottery Fund). 


Government-funded study of care leavers, led by Loughborough University and NCAS. 

What Makes the Difference?

For children in care and care leavers (Rainer (now Catch22) and NCB).

External roles

  • The Educational Progress of Looked After Children and Children in Need (University of Bristol).
  • The Educational Progress of Looked After Children in England: linking care and educational data (with the Rees Centre at University of Oxford and the University of Bristol). Round 1 report available here.
  • A comparative analysis of child support systems across four countries (UK, US, Australia and NZ).  
  • Member of the advisory group for research into the Educational Attainment and Progress of Children in Need and Children in Care (CiC), led by the University of Bristol. 
  • Member of the advisory committee for two studies on mental health of children in care at the University of Bristol. 
  • Member of the University of York working group for care leavers - working in partnership with departments to advise on the Care Leaver Covenant application and the University's Access to Participation Plan. 


Ward commentary 2019 Child & Family Social Work (PDF , 58kb)

Bright Futures Tool-Kit (PDF , 230kb)

Brighter Futures for Care Leavers report (PDF , 3,665kb)

"They sat and actually listened...", Child Care in Practice journal article (PDF , 1,524kb).