Young people in public care are a well recognised vulnerable group. They have more mental health problems, drug and alcohol problems and smoke more than other teenagers. As these young people move into adulthood (become care leavers) they continue to have problems: many are not in employment, education or training and are more likely to be involved in substance misuse, offending behaviour and be homeless. A high proportion of the prison population were in care as children. Poor mental health is a key impediment to young people in care achieving a successful transition to meaningful adult roles and personal wellbeing.
Aim of the project
The CLAHRC research team want to investigate how health services can effectively improve the mental health and wellbeing of young people leaving care within a research programme of four high-quality linked studies.
The first study will examine the literature and discuss with experts on what constitutes effective transition. The second study will be a national census of transition across England, within which we will identify four to five distinct models of transitional care. The researchers will conduct a longitudinal assessment by tracking young people's care and outcomes within these models. In the third study they will, in collaboration with care leavers, develop a package to improve transition and promote mental health and wellbeing. The fourth study consists of a test of the feasibility of the transition package as an intervention which can be rigorously tested in a randomised controlled trial.