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Children and young people's wellbeing and mental health during the Covid-19 pandemic: summary of the evidence

Authors:
KUHN Lisa, et al
Publisher:
National Foundation for Educational Research
Publication year:
2022
Pagination:
58
Place of publication:
Slough

This report presents key findings from a review of the evidence about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the country's response to it on children and young people's wellbeing and mental health. Some tentative conclusions can be drawn from this review of selected studies: secondary-aged girls and primary-aged boys appear to have been most vulnerable to declines in mental health during the pandemic - this is in the context of secondary-aged girls having poorer pre-pandemic mental health than boys; the evidence suggests that disadvantaged children and young people were not more negatively impacted than their non-disadvantaged peers but the pre-pandemic evidence is clear that disadvantage is associated with lower overall wellbeing and mental health; children and young people with SEND had lower wellbeing and mental health before the pandemic and this persisted through the pandemic; there is some evidence to suggest that the restrictions in early 2021 may have had a more negative impact than the earlier restrictions (March-June 2020); there is some evidence that for some young people, particularly those with pre-existing poorer mental health, the first lockdown may have been associated with some improvement in their mental health and wellbeing; primary-aged children appear to show greater fluctuations in their mental health and wellbeing; by the summer of 2021, there was some suggestion of an improvement in children's and young people’s mental health and wellbeing relative to earlier in the year but it may take a period of time before the effects of Covid on children's and young people's mental health and wellbeing become fully evident. (Edited publisher abstract)

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Homelessness amongst Black and minoritised ethnic communities in the UK: a statistical report on the state of the nation

Authors:
BRAMLEY Glen, et al
Publisher:
Heriot-Watt University
Publication year:
2022
Pagination:
35
Place of publication:
Edinburgh

This report draws on a wide range of statistical data sources including Census, surveys and administrative data to assess the 'state of the nation' with regard to the experience of homelessness of people from Black and minoritised ethnic communities in the UK. We found overwhelming statistical evidence that people from Black and minoritised ethnic communities experience highly disproportionate levels of homelessness in the UK. However, these patterns vary markedly, between different minoritised groups, by type of homelessness, and by geographic area within the country, with the very highest levels of homelessness apparently associated with Black and Mixed ethnicity people living in London, who seem particularly exposed to the risk of experiencing 'statutory homelessness', that is, applying and/or being accepted as homeless by a local authority. Asian households experience lower risks of statutory homelessness or 'core' (the most extreme) forms of homelessness, but are at highly disproportionate risk of more hidden aspects of homelessness, such as severe overcrowding or 'doubling up' with other households. Holding other contributory factors constant (including demographics, employment patterns, poverty levels, housing tenure, and local housing market conditions), ethnicity-related variables (including ethnic and racial background, having a migration background, and reporting experience of discrimination as result of ethnicity) increase homelessness risks substantially for Black-led households, and often for Mixed and Other groups, but only marginally for some other minoritised ethnic groups. Race, ethnicity and discrimination can affect homelessness risks indirectly as well as directly by, for example, heightening levels of poverty, or the chances of being a renter rather than an owner, which in turn increases exposure to homelessness. (Edited publisher abstract)

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Mothers in recurrent care proceedings: new evidence for England and Wales

Authors:
ALROUH Bachar, et al
Publisher:
Nuffield Family Justice Observatory
Publication year:
2022
Pagination:
94
Place of publication:
London

This report provides an updated picture of the scale and pattern of mothers in recurrent care proceedings in England and Wales. It uses full-service population data produced routinely by Cafcass and Cafcass Cymru. Descriptive statistics are combined with statistical analysis of women's risk of return to court. A sizeable proportion of mothers who appear in a first set of care proceedings will return to court in a new set of proceedings and lose multiple children from their care. Given the continued high demand on the family courts in England and Wales, the question of how to prevent women's repeat appearances in care proceedings remains a critical issue for the family justice system, for the families involved and wider society. This analysis finds that in England and Wales approximately 1 in 4 women are at risk of returning to court for subsequent care proceedings within 10 years of their first appearance in care proceedings. This finding is consistent with findings reported in 2015 for England and 2017 for Wales. Approximately 1 in 5 mothers who return to court with a new child (as opposed to the child who was the subject of previous proceedings) are at risk of returning to court within 10 years. The risk of returning to court is highest within the first three years of the initial proceedings. Following a first return to court, risk of further returns, increases. The risk of returning to court is higher for mothers who first gave birth when young and if the child in the first set of proceedings is subject to a placement order (plan for adoption). In both England and Wales, a high proportion of mothers in recurrent care proceedings (more than 40%) are estimated to be aged 14-19 at the birth of their first child. There are marked regional differences between rates of recurrence in London and the South West on the one hand, and other areas of England on the other. There are particularly high rates in the North East, the Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber, and the North West. (Edited publisher abstract)

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Mind the gaps: understanding and improving out-of-hours care for people with advanced illness and their informal carers

Authors:
PASK Sophie, et al
Publisher:
Marie Curie
Publication year:
2022
Pagination:
33
Place of publication:
London

This report sets out new evidence on out-of-hours care for people approaching the end of their lives, and their informal carers, derived from UK data on out-of-hours emergency department attendance among people who are in the last year of life; interviews with health professionals about out-of-hours services across the UK; and a patient and public involvement (PPI) workshop. We found that out-of-hours emergency department attendance increases in frequency as death approaches, and is more common among people living in the most socioeconomically deprived areas; that although all areas have access to telephone lines for general NHS services out-of-hours (e.g. NHS 111 in England and Wales), not all areas have a designated telephone line for out-of-hours palliative care support; that access to medicines out-of-hours can be complicated and time consuming; that there are gaps between what is theoretically in place and what is actually experienced by patients and informal carers; that equipment is hard to access; that care packages are often delayed or unavailable; and that much out-of-hours care relies on stretched community nursing services. The report makes a number of recommendations, calling on Integrated Care Systems, Health Boards and NHS Trusts, Integration Joint Boards and NHS Health Boards, and Health and Social Care (HSC) Trusts across the UK to strategically develop, enable and support greater integration and coordination of out-of-hours services. (Edited publisher abstract)

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A review of applications to mother and baby units in prisons

Authors:
OSTHWAITE Katherine, et al
Publisher:
What Works for Children's Social Care
Publication year:
2022
Pagination:
35
Place of publication:
London

This thematic review looks at the characteristics and family histories of women who applied to prison Mother and Baby Units (MBUs) between 2017 and 2021. We carried out this analysis as part of a wider review of the decision making process used in MBUs. This wider review followed a recommendation from Lord Farmer for the Chief Social Worker for Children and Families to carry out a case review of children removed from their primary carers when they enter prison. The findings from the wider review are available here. We reviewed the characteristics of 67 women whose applications to an MBU were accepted, and 39 women whose applications to an MBU were rejected and have reported important contextual information about their applications. Where appropriate, we have reported figures for women whose applications were rejected and whose applications were accepted separately so that differences between these groups can be considered in line with the wider review. However, our sample size was too small to carry out any statistical analysis on the data, so any differences, whilst illustrating potential trends, may not be statistically significant and therefore meaningful. Alongside this, we present a more in-depth thematic analysis of the applications of 15 women whose applications were accepted and 15 women whose applications were rejected by the MBU, again considering rejected and accepted applications as sub-groups. We found that adverse childhood experiences were common amongst all applicants, with some also experiencing involvement with children's social care (CSC) themselves as children. We found much less information about fathers and their experiences. Where the mother’s interaction with their baby was reported, this was largely described positively and many mothers were seen to be taking positive steps for change. Our findings highlight the importance of understanding more about the histories and experiences of women who apply to MBUs, and may be useful to inform future research in this area. (Edited publisher abstract)

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Evaluation of the No Recourse Early Action model: pilot evaluation report

Authors:
OTT Eleanor, et al
Publisher:
What Works for Children's Social Care
Publication year:
2022
Pagination:
90
Place of publication:
London

This report presents the findings of a pilot evaluation of the No Recourse Early Action Model (NOREAM), an early intervention approach aiming to support families with precarious immigration status and "No Recourse to Public Funds" (NRPF) immigration conditions. Driven by early action principles, the model aims to prevent families from experiencing destitution by assisting them to progress across support domains relating to housing security, immigration status, income and employment, as well as health, care and wellbeing. Overall, given the ongoing challenges faced throughout delivery, the programme was perceived to provide meaningful support to a range of migrant families prior to them reaching section 17 thresholds or enabling the identification of reaching section 17 thresholds. With all the necessary caveats placed on the findings, the experiences of families receiving support provides initial evidence of promise to meet critical needs for families facing serious challenges in various domains. The needs and experiences of the families suggest policy change is needed, particularly within the Home Office, so that migrant families do not reach destitution, high levels of food insecurity and homelessness. This project and others suggest access to public funds would prevent these outcomes and that long and unclear immigration processes severely impact children and families. In the absence of policy change, there is a clear need for early intervention with these families prior to currently interpreted section 17 thresholds. (Edited publisher abstract)

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We can talk about domestic abuse: pilot evaluation report

Authors:
OZAN Jessica, et al
Publisher:
What Works for Children's Social Care
Publication year:
2022
Pagination:
129
Place of publication:
London

This report is an evaluation of the We Can Talk About Domestic Abuse (WCTADA) programme. WCTADA is a pilot that aims to improve the experience of social care processes for those parents and children affected by domestic abuse so that they feel believed, supported and empowered, while being appropriately safeguarded. It seeks to improve safeguarding and child protection processes for the benefit of all involved. The evaluation started by constructing the programme's Theory of Change. It then used both qualitative and quantitative methods to address the research aims. Overall, the WCTADA Theory of Change appears plausible. Evidence suggests that some of its elements and pathways are more important than others. This is the case for DAFAs - who were referred to as the most important element of the programme by several stakeholders, from the WCTADA team to survivors and external agencies. The upskilling of social workers using reflective practice is another pathway that appears plausible. Evidence gathered for this report suggests that, overall, social workers engage well with the programme and change their practice accordingly, whether this is through the joint visits or the learning events. The learning events were a successful part of the programme. Appreciated by both social workers and external stakeholders. The WCTADA programme delivered most of the anticipated activities in circumstances that were particularly challenging due to COVID-19. It is important to note that its implementation required considerable time and resources being directed towards training staff, something that is reflected in the cost analysis which found that the cost per family was approximately £2,000. We conclude that the programme is not yet at a stage where it could be assessed using an efficacy or effectiveness trial. However, we do suggest a design for a pilot trial that focuses on the impact of the DAFA role. Our key recommendations are: to stabilise the operating model, which has continued to develop during the evaluation; to improve data collection systems and processes. (Edited publisher abstract)

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Preventing homelessness in care experienced individuals: a rapid review of literature, data, and the experiences of care experienced individuals and service providers

Authors:
BEYNON Claire, et al
Publisher:
Public Health Wales
Publication year:
2022
Pagination:
48
Place of publication:
Cardiff

This study provides evidence on effective interventions and models of response in relation to care experienced young people (aged 16-25) and homelessness prevention, highlighting good practice models from the UK and internationally. The study comprised four parts: a review of the literature; analysis of statistics to provide a population profile of care experienced individuals in Wales; a focus group with care experienced young people about their experience of homelessness; and focus groups/interviews with service providers. Evidence points to strategies that have successfully prevented people from entering and returning to homelessness in Australia, the United States (US), England, Germany, and Scotland. Importantly, many of these countries have introduced legislation on the right to housing for all as part of their prevention mandate, positioning the government as leaders in prevention efforts. There are a number of themes that were common across the review of literature and from the focus groups with care experienced young people and service providers, including empowerment; preventative interventions; readiness for transition; continuity of care; local placements; reducing stigma and better communication. Finally, there was a genuine passion from those who have experienced the care system and homelessness to help make changes going forward and this enthusiasm should be harnessed to ensure that the services provided are focused on the needs of this group to prevent homelessness in the future. (Edited publisher abstract)

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What does the autumn statement mean for public services?

Authors:
POPE Thomas, et al
Publisher:
Institute for Government
Publication year:
2022
Pagination:
15
Place of publication:
London

This report, published with CIPFA, sets out the impact of the autumn statement on four service areas: the NHS, schools, the criminal justice system and local government (including social care). It warns that while frontloading funding in protected areas shields them from the damaging 'austerity 2.0' feared, this is still unlikely to enable key services like the NHS to return performance to pre-pandemic levels this parliament. And, unless historic pay cuts are addressed, it may not be enough to improve recruitment and retention or avert widespread strikes. The paper finds that: prisons and courts are in a particularly dire state, with the autumn statement’s spending decisions meaning little prospect of making meaningful reductions to the post-pandemic crown court backlog or of safely housing the expected increase in prisoner numbers; funding for the NHS is unlikely to be sufficient to return performance to pre-pandemic levels, especially in hospitals where elective backlogs are likely to remain far above where they were in 2019; it is also very unlikely that the NHS will be able to resolve its recruitment and retention problems with the funding allocated in the autumn statement; the funding provided for schools is unlikely to make up for learning lost during the pandemic, with impact of pay awards and inflation meaning some schools may reduce the amount of tutoring they make available to their pupils; additional funding for adult social care will not be enough to return the service to pre-pandemic performance levels, to put the provider market on a sustainable long-term footing or to resolve the severe workforce problems facing the sector. (Edited publisher abstract)

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What works social capital evidence review: belonging, cohesion and social support

Authors:
HEY N., et al
Publisher:
What Works Centre for Wellbeing
Publication year:
2022
Pagination:
7
Place of publication:
London

This briefing summarises the findings of a rapid evidence review which sought to understand what types of interventions have improved three key social capital outcomes: neighbourhood belonging; social support; community cohesion. Social capital is "the extent and nature of our connections with others and the collective attitudes and behaviours between people that support a well-functioning, close-knit society". The review found: strong evidence on the wellbeing impact of youth skills and physical activity interventions - National Citizens Service's positive impact on community cohesion and social support among 16 and 17 year-olds and group practice of tai chi in improving social support; a range of conceptual definitions and measurement for social support and community cohesion; moderate evidence of projects that promoted a combination of healthy eating, physical activity and good mental health awareness in group settings led to improved neighbourhood belonging among those aged 16+; scope for improving the strength of evaluation designs and the quality of wellbeing data generated. (Edited publisher abstract)

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