Chwilio sylfaen wybodaeth cydgynhyrchu

Research – children and young people

See also research – social care and research – social care (continued)

See also research – health and research – health (continued)



Building a Children’s Community for the West End of Newcastle (2015 – ongoing)

A children’s community brings together a range of existing services in a specific geographical area to work in a co-ordinated way to tackle childhood advantage across all contexts in which children live and learn. There is evidence that children’s communities or children’s zones have a positive effect on a wide range of outcomes for children and young people.

The feasibility study looked at both need and opportunities in the West End of Newcastle.

The initiative continues to develop, funded by the West End Schools Trust and the local authority. Our aims are:

  • to create a stronger, more cohesive community
  • to reduce inequality
  • to start early and support young people through key transitions
  • to realise aspirations.

Keywords: children’s community, children’s zone, attainment, cohesion

Feasibility study:

Related publications: Developing children’s zones for England, Save the Children 2012

Contributed by: Liz Todd, Karen Laing – Newcastle University, CfLaT (Centre for Learning and Teaching)



Thinking Differently – Young People & Alcohol: evaluation (2013 – 2016)

The ‘Thinking Differently – Young People and Alcohol’ partnership, funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, was launched in 2012 to trial three innovative, preventative interventions designed to reduce alcohol related harm in Scotland. The starting point for the interventions was an acknowledgement of the role of parents, peers, mentors and the community in young people’s decision-making about alcohol consumption. The primary objectives were to:

  • reduce alcohol related harm and associated risky behaviour by young people
  • build practical sustainable skills and knowledge to empower young people, parents/carers and the community to take action to address local alcohol concerns.

This evaluation used a theory of change methodology, an engagement strategy involving providers, young people, families and the community, and a cost effectiveness analysis. Projects were benchmarked by comparison with area and national statistics. Qualitative data from a range of tools was used to capture the range and depth of perspectives of young people, families and the community about the impact of intervention.

‘Young People as Researchers’ (2016) was an extension of the Thinking Differently project. Additional funding enabled the young people we were working with to present at an academic conference and explain their perspective of taking part in the research.

Keywords: young people, alcohol, theory of change, evaluation

Project report: Thinking Differently – Young People & Alcohol: evaluation

Practitioners’ Guide: Thinking Differently: Lessons for Practitioners

Project overview:

Related publications:

Co-production with young people to tackle alcohol misuse (2018), Drugs and Alcohol Today, 18:1. 2018, Jill Clark, Karen Laing

The involvement of children and young people in research within the criminal justice area. (2012) AHRC Connected Communities programme: Scoping Reviews 2012, Jill Clark, Karen Laing

Young People as Researchers (video)


Contributed by: Liz Todd, Karen Laing, Jill Clark – Newcastle University, CfLaT (Centre for Learning and Teaching)



Applying a dynamic performance management framework to wicked issues: How co-production helps to transform young people’s services in Surrey County Council, UK

International Journal of Public Administration 2017

Tony Bovaird, Carmine Bianchi, Elke Loeffler

This article explores how a dynamic performance management (DPM) approach can give policy makers a more integrated, time-related understanding of how to address wicked problems successfully. Policy insights from this approach are illustrated through a case study of a highly successful co-production intervention to help young people with multiple disadvantages in Surrey, UK. The implications of DPM are that policy development needs to accept the important roles of emergent strategy and learning mechanisms, rather than attempting ‘blueprint’ strategic planning and control mechanisms. Undertaking simulations with the model and recalibrating it through time, as experience builds up, may allow learning in relation to overcoming barriers to achieving outcomes in the system.

Keywords: dynamic performance management, co-production, service transformation, service quality, public governance, local authorities, social care, children, young people

Contributed by: Carmine Bianchi – University of Palmero; Tony Bovaird – University of Birmingham, INLOGOV (Institute of Local Government Studies); Elke Loeffler – Governance International



Expanding Employment Horizons for Young People in Care: An Evaluation of York Cares’ Bright Futures Project (September 2016 – November 2017)

This was a small evaluation of a project to provide work skills and placement opportunities for young people in care.

The evaluation utilised a co-production approach, consulting with care-experienced young people on the research questions and materials, and offering a work placement for one care-experienced young person within the evaluation team to co-facilitate focus groups and contribute to interpretation and dissemination of the research findings.

Keywords: care leavers, looked-after children, EET, participatory methods

Contributed by: Jo Dixon, Jade Ward – University of York



Evaluation of the Stoke on Trent House Project (June 2015 – January 2017)

The House Project is an innovative approach to providing accommodation and support to young people leaving care. This involved setting up the first UK housing co-operative for care leavers. Ten young people were involved in running the co-operative and received support with independent living skills, education, employment and training opportunities.

The evaluation explored how the co-operative worked in practice and looked at the experiences and outcomes for the young people involved. We used a participatory approach for the evaluation, involving care-experienced young people as research advisors. They contributed to the design of interview schedules and the interpretation and dissemination of findings. Three of the young people co-presented findings via a paper and a poster at an international conference.

Keywords: care leavers, accommodation, co-production, participation


Contributed by: Jo Dixon, Jade Ward – University of York



Corporate Parenting for young people in care – making the difference? (January 2011 – January 2014)

This was a large study of corporate parenting, experiences and outcomes for young people in and leaving care. The study utilised a peer research approach, including a young person’s advisory group to assist with developing the research approach, inform the research questions and refine the research tools. In addition, over 30 care leavers received training and support to work as peer researchers, carrying out interviews with young people in and leaving care across England. Young people assisted with interpretation of the findings and co-presented a paper at an international conference.

Keywords: care leavers, looked-after children, corporate parenting, outcomes of care, peer research

Contributed by: Jo Dixon – University of York, National Care Advisory Service



Participatory evaluation with young people in care (current)

We have interpreted co-production as the involvement of the service user group (in our research this is care-experienced young people) in the design of the research approach and tools, the collection of data and the interpretation and dissemination of findings. Our main approach is the use of peer research where we offer training and support for care leavers to work with us as interviewers. We have supported around eight care leavers to co-present findings at national and international conferences for policy, practice and academics.

Our current work involves three evaluations that utilise participatory methods. A co-production approach within the projects is reflected within the methodology via input into the development of evaluation questions, information leaflets and interview schedules. The evaluations provide a research internship for a care-experienced young person and will use a peer research approach to gathering interview data at follow-up. This will involve running a two-day training workshop for approximately 28 care-experienced young people, who will then carry out interviews with up to 80 other young people in and from care. Evaluations are due to be completed in 2020.

Keywords: participation, peer research, co-production, care-experienced, young people’s voices

Overview paper: “They sat and actually listened to what we think about the care system”: the use of participation, consultation, peer research and co-production to raise the voices of young people in and leaving care in England. Child Care in Practice 25:1 Raising Voices of Children and Young people in Care. 2019, Jo Dixon, Jade Ward, Sarah Blower

Related publications: National Care Leaver’s Week Celebrations 2018

Related research projects:


Contributed by: Jo Dixon, Jade Ward, Caroline Cresswell, Sarah Blower – University of York



Working with Bristol Somali community to improve outcomes for children with autism (2016-2017)

Autism is a condition that affects social interaction, communication and behaviour. Children whose parents have migrated from Somalia to western countries, including the UK, appear to be at greater risk of developing autism. We wanted to find out about the experiences of Somali families living in Bristol with a child with autism. We set out to explore:

  • how autism is seen and understood in the Somali community
  • how parents find out that their child has autism
  • their experiences of health and social care
  • how health and social care services can best support these families.

We worked in partnership with Autism Independence (AI), a community group that supports Somali families affected by autism. Autism Independence is led by Nura Aabe who came from Somalia to the UK aged eight, and who has a child with autism.

Early ideas and plans were discussed at a community meeting with Somali parents. Local community members of Autism Independence were involved in all stages, from designing interview questions to sharing the findings. The approach, study plan and methods were negotiated between CLAHRC West and members of Autism Independence, with Nura leading negotiations. All the research materials, including flyers and the interview schedule, were developed and produced in English and Somali, with Nura translating.

Somali parents who have a child with autism were invited to take part in interviews from which four themes emerged:

  • my child is different
  • perceptions of autism
  • navigating the system
  • support.

The team have raised awareness of these issues through: a presentation to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism; national and international performances of the play ‘Yusuf can’t talk’; presentations at academic and community events; media appearances including local and national radio, television, interviews with Buzzfeed and a TED X talk.

Keywords: co-production, co-design, autism, Somali communities, attitudes, support

Project overview:

Project report: ‘It was like walking without knowing where I was going’: A qualitative study of autism in a UK Somali migrant community Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 2017 Fiona Fox, Nura Aabe, Katrina Turner, Sabi Redwood, Dheeraj Rai


Contributed by: Fiona Fox, Sabi Redwood, Dheeraj Rai – NIHR CLAHRC West, Bristol University; Nura Aabe – Autism Independence




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