Skip to main content

The relationship between evidence and policy in children's social care: the case of looked after children

Kerr, Mark Elliot (2016) The relationship between evidence and policy in children's social care: the case of looked after children. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

PDF
Restricted to Repository staff only
Contact us about this Publication Download (250kB)
[img]
PDF
Restricted to Repository staff only
Contact us about this Publication Download (2MB)
[img]
PDF
Restricted to Repository staff only
Contact us about this Publication Download (2MB)
[img]

Abstract

This thesis investigates the relationship between the needs of looked after children, evidence and policy. It questions the assumption that this area of policy is evidence-based in the context of tackling the population's primary needs and improving their life outcomes.

Background

The aims of the research required mixed methods to be used. Quantitative methods are used to initially to map the needs of looked after children and care leavers as population including secondary analysis of official statistics. They are further used in a primary research study, an integral part of this thesis, to provide primary data on the care experiences and life outcomes for a sample of care leavers. Against the evidence, the thesis considers relevant policy to evaluate its impact over the last 25 years.

The critical analysis of the relationship between evidence and policy required a qualitative approach using theories of policy-making heuristically applying Kingdon's (1984) multiple streams approach. To understand the way evidence is used to frame the needs of populations, the role of social constructivism must be considered.

Findings

Addressing needs and improving outcomes for looked after children requires a life-course approach. This is not conducive with the organisation and operations of the Department for Education. The primary need for looked after children is mental health and the most appropriate Government department to lead on their care is the Department of Health. Currently local authorities are expected to fund and meet the needs of looked after children but are not adequately resourced. Due to financial constraints, perverse incentives exists for minimal investment to meet statutory duties leading to the cost shunting of treatable mental health needs to the Department of Health, and unaddressed negative behaviours to the Ministry of Justice.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Shemmings, David
Uncontrolled keywords: looked after children; care; foster care; residential care; children's homes; mental health; sense of belonging; leaving care
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Users 1 not found.
Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2017 16:00 UTC
Last Modified: 23 Jan 2020 04:13 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/60635 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
  • Depositors only (login required):

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year