Care leavers’ experience of support during the Covid-19 pandemic

13 May 2021, 13:30 - 14:30

woman wearing a red hoodie and black trousers, walking along a forest path, on a sunny afternoon

Some care leavers were already facing challenges, and for many this got worse during the Covid-19 pandemic. Research has suggested that services have been responsive to this, but it is essential that we hear from young people themselves, learn from best practice, and identify areas for improvement to support these young people.

Dr Niamh O’Brien and Anna Dadswell present findings from research which involved working with care leavers themselves.

The research team comprised 25 care leavers from six local authorities across England, along with support workers and ARU researchers. Through online research sessions, the research team identified priorities and designed a questionnaire on care leavers’ experiences of support during Covid-19, which was shared and completed by 94 care leavers across the six local authorities. 18 members of the research team also participated in online focus groups to share their own experiences. They worked together to develop the recommendations and resources based on the findings.

Key themes included practical challenges, impacts on mental health, social connection and isolation, and experiences of support particularly from Leaving Care Services.

Niamh and Anna will share their research findings during the event using quotes and a film from the care leavers themselves. They will demonstrate how their research identifies best practice and areas for improvement in supporting care leavers during the pandemic and highlights the need for support to be in place all the time. They will also highlight the importance of involving care experienced young people in the research process and discuss the opportunities and challenges of conducting this research during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr Niamh O’Brien and Anna Dadswell are both based in the Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care (FHEMS) at Anglia Ruskin University.

Niamh’s interests are in participatory methodologies and in ensuring the voices of young people are heard through the research process. She works alongside young people, and other stakeholders, to ensure the findings from the research reflect the needs of young people, and that impact is generated making a difference to those involved.

Anna is particularly interested in the use of inclusive methodologies to work with different groups of people to explore and improve their health and/or social situation. As an early career researcher, she is currently undertaking her doctoral research using a feminist social constructionist approach to explore the lived experiences of young women with anxiety.

Event presented as part of ARU Discover public event series and Mental Health Awareness Week 2021.


Event Details

13 May 2021, 13:30 - 14:30
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