NEW RESEARCH PROJECT AIMS TO TRANSFORM LIVES OF VULNERABLE CHILDREN

A GROUNDBREAKING NEW RESEARCH PROJECT, CARELINK WALES, HAS BEEN AWARDED A GRANT OF OVER £416,000 FROM THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR HEALTH RESEARCH (NIHR) TO IMPROVE OUTCOMES FOR VULNERABLE CHILDREN AND INFORM EVIDENCE-BASED POLICIES AND PRACTICES.

The project, led by HDR UK Wales, brings together a partnership of leading researchers from Swansea University, Bangor University, Public Health Wales, Cardiff University, and the University of Manchester.

The primary focus of the research is to analyse risk factors and outcomes for vulnerable children through linked Welsh data to support evidence-informed policy and practice and identify factors associated with care entry and remaining in the family home.  This approach will provide insights into developing policies and services that effectively meet the needs of vulnerable children and families in Wales.

The project seeks to fill a critical gap in knowledge by examining factors predicting care entry and assessing the likelihood of children in Wales entering care based on various considerations, including deprivation, disability, and parental substance abuse.  Analysing routinely collected data, such as GP records, will help identify how these factors cluster together and compare the health and education outcomes of children with similar risk factors but differing care experiences.

The research will be co-produced with charities, parents, and children who have experience with the social care system.  This will ensure that the research represents diverse perspectives and is relevant to the needs of vulnerable children and families.

Lead researcher Tash Kennedy from HDR UK Wales said: “CARELINK Wales will be an important step towards understanding the factors influencing outcomes for vulnerable children.  By examining a wide range of data, including medical, educational, and social care records, coupled with the experiences of parents and children, we aim to identify the key factors that shape outcomes, paving the way for evidence-based policies that address the unique needs of these families.”

Professor Sinead Brophy, HDR UK Wales Lead, added: “This project represents HDRUK Wales’s ongoing commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of mothers and children.  This research will help enable a more informed, compassionate, and effective approach in caring for our society’s most vulnerable.”

For more updates on HDR UK Wales follow on X (Twitter) and join HDR UK Wales on LinkedIn.