Participatory Research with Care Leavers to Explore their Support Experiences During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Dadswell, Anna and O'Brien, Niamh ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2738-8514 (2022) Participatory Research with Care Leavers to Explore their Support Experiences During the COVID-19 Pandemic. British Journal of Social Work. ISSN 1468-263X

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcac001

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has perpetuated the challenges faced by care leavers and increased the need for support. Online participatory research was conducted to explore care leavers’ support experiences during the pandemic. A research team of twenty-five care leavers aged sixteen to twenty-five years and support workers from six local authorities across England identified priorities and developed an online questionnaire that was completed by ninety-four care leavers aged seventeen to twenty-six years. The research team also participated in focus groups, reflected on findings and agreed recommendations. The findings focused on four overarching themes: finances and practical issues, mental health, social connection, and support from services. The recommendations suggest that corporate parent services should provide information, offer equal opportunity to access support, facilitate connection for care leavers, and proactively reach out and ensure someone is always there for them. So that support is responsive to their needs, the continued participation of care leavers in decisions that affect them is paramount, along with commitment by the government and corporate parent services to listen and take action. By using a participatory approach that involved care leavers in the research process, this research promotes their voices and strengthens the evidence for enhancing care leaver support during the pandemic and beyond.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: care leavers, COVID-19 pandemic, leaving care services, online research, participatory research, support experiences
Faculty: COVID-19 Research Collection
Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine & Social Care
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic User
Depositing User: Symplectic User
Date Deposited: 02 Feb 2022 15:56
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2022 16:21
URI: https://arro.anglia.ac.uk/id/eprint/707297

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