Julie Selwyn (Rees Centre, Department of Education, University of Oxford), Linda Briheim-Crookall and the Bright Spots team (Coram Voice)
Just over a quarter of children in foster care (27%) live with a relative or friend. The 10,000 Voices insight paper – the views of children in kinship foster care on their well-being explores their experience of care.
The Story of New Belongings: Improving services for care leavers with care leavers – Final Report
The New Belongings report shares key learnings from the three-year programme and offers practical resources that any local authority can use to improve their care leaver services. The Bright Spots survey for care leavers Your Life Beyond Care was one of the key tools used as part of the programme.
Academic article exploring how young people’s experience varies between local authorities participating in the Bright Spots programme. Using survey data from 4,994 looked after young people (aged eleven to eighteen years) from thirty-six English LAs, the analyses focused on LA variation in their subjective well-being. There was a statistically small LA variation in young people’s responses to individual survey questions except for a question that asked if young people felt they had a trusted adult in their lives. Between 66 per cent and 100 per cent of young people had a trusted adult depending on the LA caring for them. Positively associated with overall well-being were, being looked after by a non-London LA, a longer length of time in care, fewer placement moves, children’s positive perceptions of a reciprocal trusting relationship with their carer, having a good friend and being male. Counter-intuitively, LAs with an outstanding or good Ofsted social care or education judgement were associated with a higher proportion of their young people having low well-being.
10,000 Voices: Children in care’s views on their well-being
(November 2022) Julie Selwyn and Linda Briheim-Crookall
For almost a decade the Bright Spots Programme has worked with children and young people to explore what they feel makes their lives good through the Your Life, Your Care survey. The 10,000 Voices report summarises what we have learned from these children and young people since the Programme’s inception.
The wellbeing of children in care and care leavers – learning from the Bright Spots Programme: Strategic Briefing
(September 2022) Claire Baker, Linda Briheim-Crookall and Julie Selwyn
This briefing produced for Research in Practice provides an overview of the key messages from the Bright Spots Programme. In telling the story of Bright Spots the briefing addresses two fundamental questions:
1. What makes life good for children in care and care leavers?
2. How can we make life better for children in care and care leavers?
Staying Connected: The views of looked after young people on their contact arrangements
(May 2022) Shirley Lewis, Julie Selwyn and Linda Briheim-Crookall
Staying connected explores the views and experiences of children in care shared through the Your Life, Your Care surveys. It analyses over 7,500 responses and 3,000 comments to questions about spending time with their birth parents, brothers and sisters.
(Dec 2021) Anita Chandra, Sarah Taylor, Sam Shorto, Vanessa Patel, Lizzie Gilbert Coram Impact and Evaluation Team
This report is a follow up to our ‘What Makes Life Good?’ report published in 2020 about the views of care leavers on their well-being using responses collected between 2017 and 2019 through the Your Life beyond Care survey. In this report we compare the ‘What Makes Life Good?’ pre-pandemic data from 1,804 care leavers to data from 2,476 care leavers who responded to the survey in the first year of the pandemic (2020-2021).
Evaluation of the Bright Spots programme
(April 2021) Dr Shirley Lewis, Prof. Julie Selwyn and teh Bright Spots team
This evaluation explored how local authorities (LAs) had used the findings from the Bright Spots surveys to improve the lives of the children they look after.
The evaluation of the Your Life, Your Care surveys involved interviews with senior leaders, the virtual school , participation workers and social workers, and focus groups with looked after children in six LAs in England. As part of the evaluation, examples of changes to policy and practice were collected and are available in the Practice Innovation databank.
(November 2020) Linda Briheim-Crookall, Olivia Michelmore, Claire Baker, Oluwanifemi Oni, Sarah Taylor, Julie Selwyn
‘What Makes Life Good, Care leavers’ Views on their Well-being’, report is the first of its kind in examining the well being of care leavers from their perspective and enabling comparisons across local authorities by analysing 1,804 care leaver responses collected between 2017 and 2019 and shows significant differences in the experience of care leavers between local authorities in England.
The Voices of Children In Care and Care Leavers on What Makes Life good: Recommendations for Reviewing the Care System
(November 2020) Coram Voice and the Rees Centre
The Voices of Children in Care and Care Leavers on What Makes Life Good focuses on what care-experienced children and young people have said about their wellbeing, drawing on Coram Voice’s ongoing work with thousands of care-experience children and young people.
Care leavers’ well-being during the Covid-19 Pandemic: Key Messages for Leaving Care Workers
(Apr 2020) Voices Improving Care team
Responding to Coronavirus is a challenge for us all and no different in our work with children in care and care leavers. As we respond to new circumstances it is important that we plan our services not only to keep our children and young people safe and supported, but to make their lives as positive as possible at this time.
Bright Spots: Challenging Stigma in the Care System
(Mar 2020) Bright Spots team
Our Bright Spots research shows that being singled out, being stereotyped and treated differently is an on-going issue for both children in care and care leavers.
Our Insight paper: ‘Challenging Stigma in the care system’, shares what children and young people have told us about stigma, what they want to see from services and gives examples of how local authorities have worked with children in care and care leavers to challenge stigma.
“I wish someone would explain why I am in care”: The impact of children and young people’s lack of understanding of why they are in out‐of‐home care on their well‐being and felt security”
(January 2019) Staines, J, SELWYN J, Child and Family Social Work. Wiley
This paper explores the effect of lack of knowledge on children’s well‐being and on their feelings of being settled in their current placement.
(October 2019) Bright Spots team
Every child and young person who comes into care needs to know why and have opportunities to discuss the reasons this happened whenever they feel unclear.
Our Bright Spots Insight Paper ‘Understanding why you are in care’ explains why this is important to children and young people and shares ideas and resources for how to support them with this.
The Subjective Well-Being of Children and Young People in out of Home Care: Psychometric Analyses of the” Your Life, Your Care” survey
(July 2019) Article by M. Zhang & J. Selwyn for Child Indicators Research
Examining the reliability and validity of the survey questions.
Our Lives Beyond Care: care leavers’ views on their well-being 2018
(April 2019) Dr. Claire Baker, Linda Briheim-Crookall, Levana Magnus and Professor Julie Selwyn
This report summarises the findings from the responses of 474 16-25 year-old care leavers, who completed the Your Life Beyond Care survey in six local authorities in England.
It gives an insight into how care leavers really feel about their lives.
(November 2018) Linda Briheim-Crookall, Dr. Claire Baker and Professor Julie Selwyn
In 2018, Bright Spots produced a snapshot Our Lives Our Care: looked after children’s views on their well-being in 2018, based on what 2,684 children in care from 17 English local authorities told Coram Voice through the Your Life, Your Care survey in 2017/18.
It gives an insight into how children and young people in care really feel about their lives.
Our Lives, Our Care: Looked after children’s views on their well-being – Wales 2018
(September 2018) Professor Julie Selwyn, Levana Magnus, Jon Symonds & Linda Briheim-Crookall
The Wales Bright Spots national report details the findings from six local authorities in Wales who completed the Bright Spots Your Life, Your Care survey.
Our Lives Our Care 2017
(February 2018) Professor Julie Selwyn, Levana Magnus and Dr Bobby Stuijfzand
Details all the findings from children and young people who completed the Bright Spots ‘Your Life, Your Care’ survey in 2017 (2,263 children and young people from 16 local authorities).
(October 2017) Dr Claire Baker
Rapid review that informed the development of the ‘Your Life Beyond Care’ survey. The review looks at care leavers’ experiences of the care system and how it has worked for them.
Our Lives, Our Care: Looked after children’s views on their well-being
(March 2017) Professor Julie Selwyn and Linda Briheim-Crookall
Details all the findings from the first cohort of 611 children to complete the Bright Spots ‘Your Life, Your Care’ survey.
Looked after children and young people’s views on what matters to their subjective well-being
(March 2017) Marsha Wood, Julie Selwyn
Article for the Journal Adoption & Fostering describing the development of our online ‘Your Life, Your Care’ survey measuring the subjective wellbeing of children in care.
(February 2016) Julie Selwyn, Marsha Wood, Tabetha Newman
Findings from focus groups with 140 children and young people, which informed the development of the ‘Your Life, Your Care’ survey, exploring what wellbeing is to them published in the Journal Child Indicators Research.
Children and Young People’s Views on Being in Care
(March 2015) Hadley Centre for Adoption and Foster Care Studies, Coram Voice, Bristol University
Literature review which informed the development of the ‘Your Life, Your Care’ survey which looks at existing research on children and young people’s experiences of being care and highlights their voices on positive and adverse aspects of that journey.
(March 2015) Hadley Centre for Adoption and Foster Care Studies, Coram Voice, Bristol University
Literature review which informed the development of the ‘Your Life, Your Care’ survey which looks at UK and international approaches to measuring the concept of wellbeing and, in particular, the wellbeing of looked after children.
We are always looking to grow our programme. If you work for a local authority that might want to run ‘our Life, Your Care’ and/or ‘Your Life Beyond Care’, or to find out more about Bright Spots, please email us at email@example.com.
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