The state of girls’ rights in the UK

Early insights into the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on girls – Plan International

The coronavirus outbreak is continuing to sweep the globe,
causing the worst health crisis of a generation. First identified in
November 2019, it is now severely challenging many of the richest
countries in the world, with Europe and North America the current
epicentres. Cases are now rising in some of the poorest countries,
where health systems are fragile and the ability to mitigate the
economic and social consequences is limited. While children’s
health appears to be less directly impacted by coronavirus than
adults, the impact of the pandemic on children, especially girls, will
be long-lasting.

Young people leaving care, practitioners and the pandemic: Experiences, support, and lessons

Young people leaving care, practitioners and the Coronavirus (COVID 19) pandemic: Experiences, support, and lessons for the future

In 2020, the emergence of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic significantly disrupted daily life for citizens across the UK. The four nations of the UK sought to prioritise public health and the Coronavirus Act 2020 gave new powers to devolved Governments on areas including health, education and justice (Institute for Government 2020). The ensuing ‘lockdown’, announced by the Prime Minister on the 23rd March 2020 (Gov.uk 2020), was followed by similar directives in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (Institute for Government 2020).

Debates on the necessary responses to the pandemic, together with discussions about its impact, have frequently highlighted concerns for inequalities. For example, Golightly and Holloway (2020: 637) commented that ‘some [individuals] are much better placed than others to get through this’ while Blundell et al (2020 :292) argued that the pandemic ‘will not affect all in the same way … from health to jobs and to family life … the most vulnerable groups by socio-economic background and health status are also those that may be hit the hardest”.

Compounding these concerns, COVID-19 has impacted on the delivery of social services to both adults and children (Ferguson et al 2020). Issues have been raised about maintaining support for vulnerable groups during this time, as well as responding to increased demand for mental health, domestic violence and safeguarding services (Baginsky and Manthorpe 2020).

The pandemic has prompted a flurry of research activity seeking to understand responses to COVID-19, as well as the needs and experiences of individuals both receiving and delivering social care services during these unprecedented times (Baginsky and Manthorpe 2020; Bhatia 2020; Blake-Holmes 2020; Cook and Zschomler 2020; Dafuleya 2020; Ferguson et al 2020; Henrickson 2020; Iyer et al. 2020; Lingam and Sapkal 2020; O’Sullivan et al 2020; Rambaree and Nassen 2020; Sanfelici 2020; Sengupta and Jha 2020; The Fostering Network 2020; Walter-McCabe 2020). This research project predominantly focused on the Welsh context and aims to contribute to this emerging body of evidence, with a specific focus on the needs, support and experiences of young people leaving local authority care. 

The Coronavirus (COVID 19) pandemic: Experiences and lessons for the future

The Coronavirus (COVID 19) Pandemic: Young People leaving care and practitioners share their experiences and lessons for the future

The COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdown has had a major impact across the world, with a disproportional impact on the poorest and most vulnerable people in society. This research study was designed to contribute to the emerging evidence base exploring both the receipt and delivery of social care support during this period.

The research study was funded by Voices from Care Cymru and CASCADE: Children’s Social Care Research and Development Centre. It offered a platform for the views of 21 care experienced young who provided vivid and detailed accounts of their experiences of lockdown. The inclusion of a professional survey with 23 participants enabled consideration of local initiatives providing a valuable backdrop for analysis of young people’s accounts. The study therefore provides important learning for policy makers, social care managers and front-line practitioners who work with care experienced young people and other vulnerable groups.

Encouragingly, the study revealed positive attempts to adapt to the unprecedented working conditions. It was noteworthy that the professionals who responded to our survey were positive about the support that they had provided to care leavers. Efforts to maintain communication with young people, combat loneliness, isolation and boredom, as well as ensure access to resources demonstrated good practice. However, it was noted that efforts to respond to the needs of young people were constrained by the absence of additional funding.

The perspectives of young people sometimes stood in sharp contrast to those of professionals and concerns remain about parity of support within and across areas, and the alignment between support needs and available provision. Our findings did not suggest consultation and inclusion of young people in decision making about new ways of working, and the focus appeared to be on immediate and short-term crisis needs, as opposed to transition planning or taking a rights-based approach. Of particular concern were reports of young people anxious about basic provisions, living in inappropriate accommodation and struggling with absence of mental health support.

However, despite these issues young people valued contact from social workers and social care professionals and positioned this as essential in the COVID-19 pandemic, as illustrated in this poem from one of the care experienced young people who participated in the study.

Times have changed, time is passing,
But our need for you to care is not lapsing,
We may whinge and shout and say we don’t want,
But we do, we really want you to.
We are isolated, changed and really not sure,
We need that face, the one we say we dislike
we need those texts that we never reply to,
We need the language that you share, they hey,
`how are you doing, I am still here’,
This is the real language that cares, the language we need,
The language which shows us not everything has changed,
The language that comforts us, like a weird aunt would send
Which would make us cringe, and smile,
A smile which means something hasn’t changed
-the language you use to show us you care.

You can also watch the Care Leavers and Coronavirus film about the key findings:

We would be pleased to hear from you with any feedback, comments, or suggestions:

Louise Roberts, School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University RobertsL18@cardiff.ac.uk @DrLouiseRoberts

References

Roberts, L., Rees, A., Bayfield, H., Corliss, C., Diaz, C., Mannay, D. and Vaughan, R. 2020. Young people leaving care, practitioners, and the coronavirus (COVID 19) pandemic: experiences, support, and lessons for the future. Cardiff: Cardiff University.

Children looked after in Wales

On 31st March 2019, there were 6,845 children looked after in Wales, a further increase of 440 compared to the previous year. As a result, the gap between the rate of children looked after in Wales compared to other parts of the UK has continued to widen.

Within Wales, while most Local Authorities have seen a rise in both the number and rate of children looked after, there is significant variation; and some have seen the rate of children looked after fall since 2014. Using published data, this series of briefings explores what we can say about the factors that are driving these trends and updates the earlier report Analysis of Factors Contributing to Higher Rates of Care in Wales.

  1. Children looked after in Wales: Trends
  2. Children looked after in Wales: Factors contributing to variation in rates
  3. Children looked after in Wales: Flows into and out of care

This post was originally posted by the Wales Centre for Public Policy.

Child Neglect in Schools: Messages for interprofessional safeguarding practice

The study was undertaken at Cardiff University between
2015 and 2018 and funded by the Welsh Government through
Health and Care Research Wales. The study was carried out in three regions in Wales (urban, rural and Valleys authority). The regions were selected on three criteria: (i) geographic location, (ii) either a low or high rate of child neglect registrations, and (iii) either a low, average or high rate of deprivation in Wales.

The mixed-method study comprised of two phases:
Phase 1, statistical case file analysis of children’s social
work records [case files were selected upon the following
principles: (i) the child was of school age, (ii) the school
made the initial referral to the local authority, and (iii) the child was placed on the child protection register under the category of neglect at the initial child protection conference]. Phase 2, 30 interviews with staff in six mainstream schools (including strategic, specialist, teaching, and non-teaching roles.

Health

The following research and reviews of practice are related to topics in health:

2019

McDonagh, D., Connolly, N., & Devaney, C. (2019). “Bury don’t discuss”: The help-seeking behaviour of family members affected by substance-use disorders. Child Care in Practice, 25(2), 175-188.

KEYWORDS: Substance-use disorder, family members, support

Stone, J and Hirsch (2019). Local indicators of child poverty, 2017/18 Summary of estimates of child poverty in small areas of Great Britain, 2017/18.

The Bevan Foundation (2019). Kids on the breadline: solutions to holiday hunger.

2018

Grant, A., Morgan, M., Gallagher, D. and Mannay, D., 2018. Smoking during pregnancy, stigma and secrets: Visual methods exploration in the UK. Women and Birth.

Keywords: Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), Health, Pregnancy, Smoking, Socioeconomic factors, Tobacco.

Mannay, D., Creaghan, J., Gallagher, D., Marzella, R., Mason, S., Morgan, M. and Grant, A., 2018. Negotiating closed doors and constraining deadlines: the potential of visual ethnography to effectually explore private and public spaces of motherhood and parenting. Journal of contemporary ethnography, 47(6), p.758.

Keywords: visual methods, photo elicitation, motherhood, home, fieldwork

Childcare

The following research and reviews of practice are related to topics in childcare:

2018

Holloway, S. L., & Pimlott‐Wilson, H. (2018). Reconceptualising play: Balancing childcare, extra‐curricular activities and free play in contemporary childhoods. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 43(3), 420-434.

Keywords: after school activities, class, geography of play, working mother, work–life balance, wraparound care

Parenting

The following research and reviews of practice are related to topics in parenting:

2019

Doughty, J., Maxwell, N. & Slater, T. 2019. Alienating Behaviour in Post-Separation Parenting Disputes. CASCADE. Number 11: June 2019.

Barcus, M., Tiggers, L. & Kim, J. 2019. Time to care: socioeconomic, family, and workplace factors in men and women’s parental leave use. Community, Work & Family. 22(4), pp. 443-464.

Family Holiday Association. September 2019. How was your summer? A survey of professionals on what summer was like for the children and families they support.

Martínez, I., Murgui, S., García, O. F., & García, F. (2019). Parenting in the digital era: Protective and risk parenting styles for traditional bullying and cyberbullying victimization. Computers in Human Behavior, 90, 84-92.

Keywords: Cyberbullying, Bullying, Peer victimization, Parenting styles, Adolescence

2018

Working with Fathers in Child and Family Services (2018). Professor Jonathan Scourfield.

Hayes, D., Butler, M., Devaney, J., & Percy, A. (2018). Allowing imprisoned fathers to parent: Maximising the potential benefits of prison based parenting programmes. Child Care in Practice, 24(2), 181-197.

KEYWORDS: Parenting, services, behaviour

Evaluation of Reflect in Gwent (2018). Dr Louise Roberts, Dr Nina Maxwell, Claire Palmer and Rebecca Messenger. CASCADE Briefing 10 -Nov 2018.

Reflect English: An evaluation of the Barnardo’s and Newport City Council Reflect Scheme

2017

Evaluation of Cornwall Council’s Video Interactive Guidance Service (2017). Dr Nina Maxwell, Dr Alyson Rees and Dr Anne Williams. CASCADE Briefing 8 – Sept 2017

Children and Young People

The following research and reviews of practice are related to topics in children and young people:

2019

Professor Sonia Livingstone FBA, London School of Economics (2020). Can We Realise Children’s Rights In A Digital World?

Centre for Research on Children & Families (2019). Making a Difference for Children and Families. Annual report 2018-2019

Palacios, J., Rolock, N., Selwyn, J., & Barbosa-Ducharne, M. (2019). Adoption breakdown: Concept, research, and implications. Research on Social Work Practice, 29(2), 130–142. 

Evans, R.et al. 2019. Adolescent self-harm prevention and intervention in secondary schools: A survey of staff in England and Wales. Child and Adolescent Mental Health 24(3), pp. 230-238. 

Jones, L. 2019. Remaining in Foster Care After Age 18 and Youth Outcomes at the Transition to Adulthood: A Review. Families in Society, 100(3), pp. 260–281. 

Laverty, A. A., Filippidis, F.T., Taylor-Robinson, D. et al. 2018. Smoking uptake in UK children: analysis of the UK Millennium Cohort Study. Thorax, 74(6), pp.607 

Mowat, J. G. 2019. Exploring the impact of social inequality and poverty on the mental health and wellbeing and attainment of children and young people in Scotland. Improving Schools, 22(3), pp. 204–223. 

Khouja, J.N., Munafò, M.R., Tilling, K. et al.2019. Is screen time associated with anxiety or depression in young people? Results from a UK birth cohort. BMC Public Health 19. 

Family Holiday Association. How was your summer? A survey of professionals on what summer was like for the children and families they support. September 2019.

Dr Jenny Smith and John Hamer. A system mapping approach to understanding child and adolescent wellbeing​ (2019). Department for Education.

APPG on Youth Affairs. National youth Agency. Youth Work Inquiry. Final Report. April 2019.

Children’s Commissioner for Wales. What Now? (2019)

Gillen, A. M., Kirby, K., McBride, O., McGlinchey, E., & Rushe, T. (2019). Comparing Self-Harm (SH) Thoughts and Behaviours Among a Community Sample of Younger and Older Adolescents in Northern Ireland. Child Care in Practice, 25(2), 189-199.

KEYWORDS: Early onset, non-suicidal self-harm, prevalence rates, younger and older adolescents

Cody, C., & D’Arcy, K. (2019). Involving Young People Affected by Sexual Violence in Efforts to Prevent Sexual Violence in Europe: What is Required?. Child Care in Practice, 25(2), 200-214.

KEYWORDS: Youth participation, sexual violence, child sexual exploitation, ethics

Healthy and happy. School impact on pupils’ health and wellbeing. June 2019

How do Family Drug and Alcohol Courts work with parents to safely reduce the number of children in care? A rapid realist review. Melissa Meindl, Lorna Stabler, Laura Mayhew-Manistre, Lucy Sheehan, Chloe O’Donnell, Donald Forrester and Sarah L. Brand.

Poverty, attainment and wellbeing: Making a difference to the lives of children and young people (May 2019). SCOTTISH UNIVERSITIES INSIGHT INSTITUTE.

2018

Children’s Commissioner (2018). Who Knows About Me? A Children’s Commissioner report into the collection and sharing of children’s data.

Lydia Marshall and Neil Smith. National Centre for Social Research (2018). Supporting mental health in schools and colleges: Pen portraits of provision

Davies, H., & Christensen, P. (2018). Sharing spaces: children and young people negotiating intimate relationships and privacy in the family home. Families, Intergenerationality, and Peer Group Relations, 27-49.

Keywords: Intimacy, Privacy, Family, Space, Spatialities, Time, Home, Embodiment/body 

John, A., Glendenning, A. C., Marchant, A., Montgomery, P., Stewart, A., Wood, S., … & Hawton, K. (2018). Self-harm, suicidal behaviours, and cyberbullying in children and young people: systematic review. Journal of medical internet research, 20(4).

Keywords: cyberbullying, bullying, self-injurious behavior, suicide, suicide, attempted, suicidal ideation

Leu, A., Frech, M., & Jung, C. (2018). “You don’t look for it”—A study of Swiss professionals’ awareness of young carers and their support needs. Health & social care in the community, 26(4), e560-e570.

Keywords: awareness, focus groups, practice tools, young adult carers, young carers

Stanley, N., Barter, C., Wood, M., Aghtaie, N., Larkins, C., Lanau, A., & Överlien, C. (2018). Pornography, sexual coercion and abuse and sexting in young people’s intimate relationships: a European study. Journal of interpersonal violence, 33(19), 2919-2944.

Keywords: dating violence, domestic violence, adolescent victims, sexual assault

2016

Looked after children, care leavers and risk of teenage conception; findings from Wales: Summary of a National Response (2016). Dr Marion Lyons, Zoe Couzens, Dr NoelCraine, Sarah Andrews, Rhiannon Whitaker. 

#redrawthebalance – Inspiring the Future – Redraw the Balance – 2016

This powerful film from MullenLowe London provocatively captures how, early on in their education, children already define career opportunities as male and female. When asked to draw a firefighter, surgeon and a fighter pilot, 61 pictures were drawn of men and only 5 were female. It’s time to #redrawthebalance. Find out how you can support the cause by visiting: inspiringthefuture.org

Inspiring the future: redraw the balance

Development

The following research and reviews of practice are related to topics in development:

2019

Theodotou, E. 2019. Supporting personal and social development through child-led art projects in the early years. Early Child Development and Care, 189(11), pp. 1889-1900. 

Grant, A.Morgan, M.Mannay, D. and Gallagher, D., 2019. Understanding health behaviour in pregnancy and infant feeding intentions in low-income women from the UK through qualitative visual methods and application to the COM-B (Capability, Opportunity, Motivation – Behaviour) model. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth

Exploring moving to home education in secondary schools. Ofstead. October 2019.

2018

Grant, A., Mannay, D. and Marzella, R., 2018. ‘People try and police your behaviour’: the impact of surveillance on mothers and grandmothers’ perceptions and experiences of infant feeding. Families, Relationships and Societies, 7(3), pp.431-447.

Keywords: breastfeeding, infant formula, infant feeding, morality, motherhood, surveillance, stigma, visual methods, participatory research, qualitative research

Neaum, S. (2018). Engaging with literacy provision in the early years: Language use and emergent literacy in child-initiated play. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 1468798418783310.

Keywords: Emergent literacy, Halliday, functional language use, child-initiated play, early childhood education, literacy, early years, Mathetic, Pragmatic, formal schooling, engagement in play