Bright Spots programme will now collate care leavers' views on wellbeing and transition from care
This National Care Leavers Week, Coram Voice is pleased to announce that the views of care leavers about their experience of care are to be the focus on a new survey for local authorities, building on the successful Bright Spots programme. The survey has been informed by our new literature review on care leavers’ views on their transition to adulthood, published today (30 October), which you can read here.
Through the Bright Spots programme, Coram Voice and the University of Bristol developed the ‘Your Life, Your Care’ survey to measure the quality of looked after children’s care experience and their sense of wellbeing. It was shaped by young people themselves and is the only one of its kind to give an effective measure of children in care’s subjective wellbeing. The survey has been delivered in over 20 local authorities so far and many have already started to implement service developments according to the findings from young people in their care.
We are now developing and piloting a care leaver version of the survey ‘Your Life Beyond Care’, using the same methodology as the existing surveys for younger children. The survey is co-produced with care leavers themselves and draws upon the key findings from a new literature review published by Coram Voice and the University of Bristol.
The literature review covers 80 UK studies exploring care leavers’ own accounts of their experiences and feelings on leaving care, relationships, responsibilities and life after care. It reveals that young people felt too little attention was given to preparing them emotionally for leaving care, and for some, independence had come too soon.
The review finds that young people with a key person to rely on say their transition from care had been easier, whilst other young people had reported feeling lonely and socially isolated after leaving care, affecting their emotional wellbeing. Some young people reported that the care system did not help them fully understand their background and personal history, mirroring the findings in our ‘Your Life, Your Care’ report that children in care often don’t feel that the reasons they are in care have been fully explained.
The review also highlights that care leavers often spoke of education and employment goals and aspirations as a way to overcome stigma and provide a sense of identity, as one young person reports: “I was on a mission for a better life. I thought you know what I’m going to give my best in education and I’m going to try and make something good out of myself.”
Linda Briheim-Crookall, Head of Policy and Practice Development at Coram Voice said: “High-quality local authority services to children in care and care leavers must be grounded in an understanding of children and young people’s own experiences and views, not simply adult perspectives on their lives.
“Our literature review gives us valuable insight into care leavers’ experiences and forms a vital part in the development of our new survey to measure care leavers’ subjective wellbeing. We look forward to working with existing and new Bright Spots local authority partners to deliver the survey so that care leavers can have their voices heard and be given the very best support.”
The ‘Your Life Beyond Care’ survey will be finalised in January 2018, and we are now inviting local authorities to join as Bright Spots partners to deliver the survey next year, along with the ‘Your Life, Your Care’ survey for children in care.