Our seminar with Nikki Luke entitled “Supporting Education and Well-being in Care” took place on Wednesday 26th October 2016 from 12.30-2pm, Seminar Room F, Manor Road Building
Children and young people living in care represent one outcome of child protection decisions. Yet issues of vulnerability do not cease with the change of living circumstances. Young people in care have particular vulnerabilities around their well-being, with national surveys showing much higher rates of mental health difficulties in this group than in the general population (Ford et al., 2007). Annual data from the Department for Education also show a persistent gap between the educational attainment of children in care and their peers, with the gap growing wider from primary to secondary school. Young people’s experiences in their birth families, as well as experiences in the care and education systems, can contribute to both well-being and educational progress. This session will draw on two pieces of research conducted by the Rees Centre, to prompt a discussion about the role of foster carers, social workers, schools and other professionals in promoting the well-being and educational progress of young people in care. Using a review of strategies for the prevention and treatment of mental health difficulties among children in the care system, commissioned by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC; Luke et al., 2014), participants will be encouraged to discuss best practice in ‘ordinary care’ in terms of promoting well-being, as well as the principles that appear to be most important for the effectiveness of mental health interventions. A large mixed-methods study (Sebba et al., 2015) will also be used to examine the relationships between young people’s experiences in the care system and their educational attainment and progress in secondary school. We will also consider whether systems measure the ‘right’ outcomes. This highly interactive session aims to promote understanding about the factors that can make a difference in care, and encourage participants to identify ways of increasing the role of young people’s ‘voice’ in their development at home and at school.
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Cover image credit: Josh Pesavento / Flickr