OPEN Forum: What makes life good? Measuring what matters to care leavers’ well-being
Watch the recording of this insightful OPEN Forum.
In this session, Dr Claire Baker discusses what matters to young people leaving out-of-home care in the UK and how the Bright Spots program, developed in collaboration with Coram Voice and Professor Julie Selwyn from the University of Oxford, is addressing the lack of data on the experiences of young people in care and leaving care. This session is relevant for all stakeholders working in the out-of-home care sector, providing insights on how to effectively engage young people in research and how to utilise evidence to develop programs grounded in the experiences of young people. By watching this session, you’ll learn how to ensure better outcomes for young people living in and leaving care.
Why Collect Data?
- The Bright Spots program was developed to address the lack of data on the experiences of young people in care and leaving care.
- By paying attention to the highlighted needs of care leavers and addressing areas of “living well,” the program aims to design interventions that meet their needs. It’s essential to justify the survey’s purpose and practical use when engaging young people in research, focusing not just on identifying needs but also on “what now and how?”
Key Survey Findings
- When young people and children in and out of home care were asked, “What makes life good?” a key message from care leavers who were surveyed was that a good life is more than living freely, it is living well and happily.
- The survey identified specific areas of well-being unmet for care-leavers, providing a focus point for program design in the space of out of home care.
- The surveys also identified what service providers were doing well, with care leavers reporting positive experiences and increased happiness in certain contexts.
The Programs Impact
- The developed surveys are ‘Your Life in Care’ and ‘Your Life Beyond Care’, which both act as tools for decision-makers to understand the experiences of young people, as well as for practitioners to design programs and services that will meet the identified needs.
- The Bright Spots survey goes beyond identifying needs; it is a mechanism for local change, with data currently being used to inform policy-making decisions in the UK.
- Well-being of children in care and care leavers: learning form the Bright Spots programme (Research in practice briefing)
- Final report and practice tools – Care leavers, Covid-19 and the transition from care (CCTC)
- Evaluation of Pure Insight (care leaver charity) – Full report and summary report
- New blog for localgov – how to make life good for children in care and care leavers
- Research report: What makes life good? Care leavers views on their well-being (Nov 2020)
- Evaluation: Face to Face Pathways (Havering) (DfE innovation fund)
- Evidence framework Scottish independent care review (literature review ‘best care system’ and co-author 12 evidence papers on the care system inc. love, rights, stigma etc)
- Insight papers: Understanding why you are in care and Challenging stigma in care
- Local offer toolkit – thematic report and Guide and Key messages (NLCBF members can access full range of resources including local offer audit tool)
- Blog: What the official statistics don’t tell us about the experiences of care leavers
- Snapshot reports: Our lives beyond care: care leavers’ views on their well-being 2018 and Our lives, our care: Looked after childrens’ views on their well-being in 2018
- Research review: Care leavers’ views on their transition to adulthood – rapid review of the evidence
- Briefing: Care leaver transitions: Strategic briefing (Research in Practice members)
- Evaluation: New Belongings care leaver programme evaluation
- Evaluation: Mockingbird Family programme evaluation
Are you a service working with care leavers? If so have you seen the new free Baker & Dixon Leaving Care Self-assessment framework? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy