Posted on 13 January 2021
Back in 2018, the SPSW Child Welfare Research Group (CWRG) was awarded funding by the Department for Education (DfE) to carry out evaluations for the national Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme, a national strategy to improve services for vulnerable children, young people and families through innovative and evidenced based programmes.
Researchers in the CWRG were awarded two evaluations and a further three in collaboration with colleagues at the Rees Centre, University of Oxford. One of the projects, Bradford B Positive, focused on young people in and on the edge of care. Four of projects focused on accommodation and wider support for young people leaving care and moving on to independent living. The first was an evaluation of round two of the National House Project and three involved evaluations of a pilot programmes to test new models of support for young people leaving residential care (known as Staying Close) – Break; FairWays and Aspiration.
All five evaluations reports were submitted for review during August to September and were published in November 2020.
The evaluations contribute further to the body of work carried out by members of the CWRG over the past three decades, in raising awareness of the needs, strengths and outcomes of care-experienced children and young people.
The work has received recent media interest. Jo Dixon was interviewed by the BBC for a piece on care leavers in Higher Education and contributed to an article on the House Project, published in Children and Young People Now.
Jo and Jade Ward have also been working with the University of York Care leavers working group (now Independent students working group) over the past year to contribute to the development of the University strategy for care-experienced and estranged students. They are also members of the York and North Yorkshire working group for care experienced young people in higher education. Jade has recently taken up a new role with Become, where she will be supporting young people in and leaving care to access education.