Autumn Conference Series: Transitions for Young People

We are very excited to announce our autumn conference series on ‘Transitions for Young People’, to include webinars, videos, podcasts, blogs and more.


What makes life good? Care leavers’ views on their well-being
Linda Briheim-Crookall, Coram Voice

It’s complicated: A longitudinal exploration of young people’s perceptions of placement and reflections on changing children’s social care
Prof Heather Taussig
University of Denver
11/11/21: 1-2pm


A young father holding his baby
Supporting Parents in and Leaving Care
Dr Louise Roberts & Rachael Vaughan
Lost in Transition?
The post-school experiences of young people with vision impairment
Dr Rachel Hewett, University of Birmingham



Podcast: Transition to University – Challenges for care experienced young people
Dr Hannah Bayfield and Lorna Stabler, Cardiff University.

Release date: 27 October

Video: Understanding the Support Needs of Children Adopted from Public Care: Findings from the Wales Adoption Cohort Study
Dr. Amy Paine, Cardiff University.

Release date: 3 November

Podcast: Do you ever really leave care when your carer is a family member? Transitions in kinship care
Lorna Stabler, Cardiff University and Abbie Toner, University of Suffolk.

Release date: 15 November


Don’t Hold Back – Transitions to adulthood for young people with learning disabilities How do transitions shape the educational journeys of adult care leavers?Educational Pathways and Work Outcomes of Disabled Young People in England
Prof Sally Holland, Children’s Commissioner for Wales. Dr Eavan Brady, Trinity College Dublin.Dr Angharad Butler-Rees and Dr Stella Chatzitheochari, University of Warwick
Release date: 25 OctoberRelease date: 29 OctoberRelease date: 2 November
When I’m ready – how do we support young people in care to stay at home once they turn 18?When I’m ready – looking towards the futureGetting ready – to leave care
Lorna Stabler, Cardiff University.Jane Trezise, Voices From Care Cymru.Tracey Carter, Voices From Care Cymru.
Release date: 10 NovemberRelease date: 12 NovemberRelease date: 15 November

Experts by experience

Growing Wings: A poetry project to explore transitions with children and young people looked after The poetry you see in this programme has been created by children and young people looked after in Wales. More information and poems will be released through the duration of the conference series. Project coordinated by Bridget Handley and Clare Potter, Cardiff University.

Information about this conference can be downloaded in full.

What makes life good? Care leavers’ views on their well-being

Since 2013, the Bright Spots programme has worked with children in care and care leavers to explore what makes life good for them. Their well-being is measured by the Your Life Your Care and Your Life Beyond Care surveys, which were coproduced with children and young people to capture what they felt was important. The Bright Spots programme has worked with almost 60 local authorities in England and Wales, collecting over 15,000 responses from children and young people in and leaving care. Using the surveys, we have worked with local authorities to understand how children and young people feel about their lives and have identified examples of practice improvement that were developed as a result of what young people said.

One of our most recent reports, What Makes Life Good, Care leavers’ views on their Well-being’, published by Coram Voice in collaboration with The Rees Centre showed the steep decline care leavers’ well-being after young people left care. Drawing on the Bright Spots Programme, the report examined the well being of care leavers by analysing 1,804 care leaver responses collected between 2017 and 2019 in 21 local authorities in England. This session will present the findings from the report and explore what care leavers say makes their lives good and where work is needed to make the transition easier and  their lives better. It will also showcase some of the ways in which the local authorities we have worked with have responded to their local findings.

Presenter: Linda Briheim-Crookall, Head of Policy and Practice Development, Coram Voice

Time: 11am – 12pm

Date: 19th October 2021

External events notice

Supporting Parents in and Leaving Care

This event will detail recent efforts to co-develop a best practice charter, aimed at creating meaningful change for parents in and leaving local authority care. Co-produced with care experienced parents, practitioners and policy makers, the charter is aimed at Corporate Parents; professionals with responsibility for supporting young people in state care. In Wales, corporate parents are directed to seek the same outcomes for children in local authority care as any good parent would seek for their own child. This event will share the best practice charter and wider resources developed about this important topic including discussion on research conduction in this area by Dr Louise Roberts.  Parents in and leaving care will support the development of this event.

The webinar forms part of the annual Economic and Social Research Council’s Festival of Social Science.

Time: 11am – 12pm

Date: 9th November 2021

Presenters: Dr. Louise Roberts and Rachael Vaughan, Cardiff University.

External events notice

It’s complicated: A longitudinal exploration of young people’s perceptions of placement in foster care and their reflections on changing children’s social care

Assumptions about what is best for children with social care involvement are often made by professionals, yet few studies have systematically asked youth about their perceptions and even fewer studies have explored how their perspectives may change over time. This study, Fostering Healthy Futures, asked 200 preadolescent children a series of questions about the difficulties and helpfulness of placement in foster care and whether their lives would have been be better/the same/worse if they had never been placed. They also rated how they felt about the amount of information they got from their social workers and whether or not they had enough input about decisions that affected their lives while in foster care. Study participants were then re-interviewed approximately 10 years later when they were between the ages of 18-22 and asked the same questions. In adulthood, participants also responded to a qualitative question that asked how they would change the foster care system.

Join us to learn how perceptions may have changed over time and whether they differed as a function of gender, race, ethnicity, type of maltreatment and placement, ACEs, emancipation/reunification, and baseline mental health functioning. The talk will also share participants’ ideas for improving children’s social care.

Time: 1pm – 2pm

Date: 11th November 2021

Presenter: Prof. Heather Taussig, University of Denver

External events notice

Lost in Transition? The post-school experiences of young people with vision impairment

This presentation will explore evidence collected by the Longitudinal Transitions Study: a 11 year longitudinal qualitative study which has followed the post-school experiences of 80 young people with vision impairment and their progression into the labour market. During this session we will focus on the different pathways pursued by the young people, giving consideration to the various enablers and barriers which have impacted upon their journeys. In particular we will consider how well prepared the young people felt for life after school, and for fulfilling their potential. 

The Longitudinal Transitions Study has been conducted by researchers at Vision Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research, School of Education, University of Birmingham. The study has been funded by Thomas Pocklington Trust, Nuffield Foundation and Royal National Institute of Blind People. More information is available at:

Time: 1pm – 2pm

Date: 17th November 2021

Presenter: Rachel Hewett, University of Birmingham

External events notice

How Does the Well-Being of Children in Foster Care in Wales Compare with that of other Welsh Children?

Well-being is meant to be at the heart of services for children and adults in Wales – yet there is little research on the wellbeing of children in care. How happy and satisfied are children in care in Wales – particularly compared to other children?

This seminar reports on research comparing children in care with a much larger group of other children in Wales to answer questions about how satisfied they are with life and what factors influence whether they are happy. It compares the wellbeing of 22 children in foster care aged 10-13 with a large national sample of 2627 other children.

This is as far as we are aware the first research able to make such a comparison, and the large sample allows us to explore not just care but also the impact of other factors such as deprivation. The findings were interesting and unexpected. This seminar will present initial findings and then open up a discussion about how we might help improve the wellbeing of children in care and the importance of considering subjective wellbeing alongside more “objective” measures such as educational achievement.

Presenters: Dr Jen Hampton (WISERD), Professor Colette McAuley (CASCADE)  Professor Donald Forrester (CASCADE Director) Cardiff University.

Date & Time: September 15th, 12pm

What difference does local authority care make to the lives of vulnerable children? Longitudinal analyses of a retrospective electronic cohort

The proposed research aims to examine, over time, education and health outcomes of children who are looked after (CLA) by the local authority (i.e. in care). Existing studies that use only one point in time have shown that CLA have poorer educational and health outcomes than the general population. Pre-care experiences, such as physical abuse, parental mental health illness and parental alcohol misuse, are common reasons for becoming looked after. These experiences also predict poorer health, education and social outcomes in young people who are not in care. For these reasons, it is difficult to understand whether poorer health and educational outcomes for CLA are because of differences in pre-care experiences, or of care itself. 

This research, for the first time, linked an existing Wales-wide dataset on education and health with routinely collected data on young people’s support from social services. The research is exploring three objectives. First, addresses the lack of large-scale studies in the UK that statistically examine the role of CLA status in predicting educational outcomes and health over time. Second, it will reduce uncertainty over the extent to which poor outcomes among CLA are because of pre-care experiences, or experiences of being in care. This will be achieved through comparison between CLA, and children who receive help from social services but are not CLA (Children In Need, but Not Looked After – NLA). There are likely to be differences between these two groups that predict why one group becomes CLA and the other does not, but NLA are likely to be more similar to CLA than children not known to services. To take account of some further differences between groups, we will adjust for physical abuse, parental mental health illness, parental alcohol misuse and domestic violence. Third, whilst CLA status is often based on the assumption that removing young people from adversity will move them toward better life trajectories, this study will be the first to examine over time the role of care in reducing the effects of pre-care experiences on education and health care outcomes. 

The research is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

Presenter: Dr Sara Long, DECIPHer, Cardiff University.

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ExChange Wales brings leading researchers together with practitioners and service users to share expertise, research evidence and care experiences.

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