This protocol is for the Care Leaver Emotional Wellbeing project, an exploratory study focusing on the services available to support young people’s mental health and emotional wellbeing as they leave care.
Care leavers are more likely to experience mental health problems and lower wellbeing than their non care-experienced peers. When young people leave care around 18, they often experience a reduction in services available to them at the same time that they are moving to independent living. Additionally, young people under the care of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) typically transition to Adult Mental Health Services (AMHS) between 16-18, adding further instability to support services at a time of significant change.
Despite this, there is no national standard for emotional wellbeing support offered to care leavers in England. Very little research has been carried out to understand what support is available for care leavers specifically, and how effective that support is.
The purpose of this study is to explore what wellbeing support is currently available to care leavers in England beyond provisions through general adult healthcare and generate insights on their perceived effectiveness; to understand the range of approaches and models that local authorities are using to improve care leavers’ access to, and experience of, wellbeing support.
Researchers will work with 5 LAs across England to explore services designed to support emotional wellbeing provided to care leavers by each LA.
The project will comprise four strands of work:
- A commissioned evidence review about mental health interventions for care-experienced young people (the protocol for this evidence review can be found here)
- Interviews with professionals who support care leavers with their emotional wellbeing
- Interviews with care leavers who have accessed wellbeing services through their LA*
- Deliberative workshops to reflect on findings, develop a theory of change about services and inform recommendations for service provision.
*These interviews will be conducted by peer researchers working through the McPin Foundation
This project will be completed by April 2023.