Published: 7 December 2016 at 11:00
Anglia Ruskin University to investigate what happens to young adults leaving care
Unique research to get a better understanding of what happens to young adults when they leave care is being carried out by Anglia Ruskin University, thanks to a grant from the European Union.
Interviews with young people will reveal their experiences of leaving either institutional or family care, a critical period in their lives where the need for support may increase significantly.
A report last year by the National Audit Office found that care leavers face challenging social problems and that the current system is “not working effectively to deliver good outcomes for all care leavers”. In 2013/14, 41% of 19-year-old care leavers were not in employment, education or training compared with only 15% of their age peers.
Instead of being questioned by academics or social workers, a group of 25 people between the ages of 18 and 25 will be interviewed by their peers on the Essex Children in Care Council, who have had similar experiences. This qualitative data will then be compared with an identical study that has already been conducted in Finland.
It is also hoped that young care leavers will benefit from speaking to people who have undergone similar experiences. The interviewees themselves will be trained, gaining new skills to help them play a greater role in their communities and contribute to society.
The study, being carried out in Essex in partnership with Essex County Council, will help policy makers and practitioners understand more about how care leavers feel about their transition and the services required.
Funding for the study has been provided by the European Union, with Professor Maritta Torronen seconded to Anglia Ruskin University under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship scheme.
Professor Torronen said:
Cllr Dick Madden, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults and Children, said: