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20 June 2011 | PR 11/73

Care leavers turn researchers for Loughborough study

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A group of care leavers have played a valuable research role in an evaluation of the Right2BCared4 pilot conducted by Loughborough University’s Centre for Child and Family Research (CCFR).

The Right2BCared4 pilot sought to reduce the number of young people in care moving to independence before the age of 18 to help improve outcomes of those leaving the care system. It was funded in 11 local authorities.

Staff at Loughborough recruited and trained care-experienced young people from eight of the local authorities involved in the pilot. The young researchers took part in all elements of the study from start to finish, including designing interview and survey questions, creating promotional materials, analysing the findings and producing a Peer Research Summary Report which will be distributed nationally.

Training and analysis was conducted over a 20-month period at Loughborough University with support from the National Care Advisory Service (NCAS).

Lead researcher and CCFR Assistant Director Emily Munro worked alongside the peer researchers in this study and was delighted with their input.  

“Using young people for peer research isn’t new, but the scale and intensity of this study was unusually high,” she said. “The group was involved throughout the research cycle, allowing them to experience the reality of research and understand the methodologies behind it.

“Educational outcomes for children in care are typically poor, with only 7% of care leavers going on to University. As well as helping develop a range of skills amongst the peer researchers involved, the project also gave them the opportunity to visit the campus and experience University life first-hand.

“This approach gave us a unique insight and we will continue to improve on this model for future studies.”

One peer researcher, aged 20, explains:

“I found the training really interesting, participative, challenging and very ‘young person’ friendly. It was a fantastic experience and I was surprised how well the group worked together for a young group of people.”

A Right2BCared4 pilot evaluation final report has been published on the Department for Education website www.education.gov.uk 

Key findings include a cultural shift in professional attitudes towards young people remaining in care until legal adulthood, and recognition of the importance of active and early pathway planning for those moving into independent living. It also acknowledges not all young people want to stay in care for longer, but packages of support must be available for those who choose to move to independence early.


For all media enquiries contact:

Amanda Overend
Senior PR Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228697
E: A.J.Overend@lboro.ac.uk 

Notes for editors:

The Right2BCared4 pilot began in 2007 in 11 local authorities and is based on the following principles:

  • Young people should not be expected to leave care until they reach 18 years of age;
  • They should have a greater say in the decision making process preceding their exit from care; and
  • Should be properly prepared for living independently

Young people are entitled to remain in care until they reach 18 but historically they have not always been encouraged to do so. The national estimated cost of keeping all 16 to 17 year olds in care for a year longer is £212.8 million.
The full report and peer research summary are available via the following links:

Loughborough University
Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2010 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top universities in the UK, and has topped the Times Higher Education league for the UK’s Best Student Experience every year since the poll's inception in 2006. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

It is a member of the 1994 Group of 19 leading research-intensive universities. The Group was established in 1994 to promote excellence in university research and teaching. Each member undertakes diverse and high-quality research, while ensuring excellent levels of teaching and student experience.

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