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The strengths and challenges of online services and interventions to support the mental health and wellbeing of care-experienced children and young people: A study exploring the views of young people, carers, and social care professionals in Wales during the Coronavirus pandemic

Mannay, Dawn, Boffey, Maria, Cummings, Aimee, Cunningham, Emily, Davies, Brittany, Stabler, Lorna, Vaughan, Rachael, Wooders, Charlotte and Evans, Rhiannon 2022. The strengths and challenges of online services and interventions to support the mental health and wellbeing of care-experienced children and young people: A study exploring the views of young people, carers, and social care professionals in Wales during the Coronavirus pandemic. [Project Report]. Cardiff: The Fostering Network in Wales.

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Abstract

The Coronavirus pandemic and its associated lockdowns and restrictions prompted a move from face-to-face interactions to remote forms of engagement that relied on telephone or online contact. This had consequences for the type and frequency of mental health and wellbeing services and interventions that were available to care-experienced children and young people and their foster and kinship carers. This report presents the views and experiences of online mental health and wellbeing provision among young people, carers, and health and social care professionals in Wales during the Coronavirus pandemic. Data were produced in online qualitative interviews with 23 participants, including care-experienced young people (n=3), the biological child of a foster carer (n=1), health and social care professionals (n=9), and foster and kinship carers (n=10). The participants discussed the strengths and challenges of online and in-person services and offered recommendations for future practice and interventions. Once the interview data was generated and analysed the project team met with three advisory groups to discuss the findings of the study and refine the recommendations for policy and practice. These meetings involved foster and kinship carers (n=10) who were members of The Fostering Network’s All Wales Foster Carers’ Advisory Forum, which is facilitated by The Fostering Network in Wales, care-experienced young people (n=4) who were part of CASCADE Voices, and young people (n=4) who were members of The Fostering Network in Wales Young People’s Care Forum. The findings from the study noted some benefits of online mental health and wellbeing services and interventions for care-experienced children and young people, including accessibility, privacy and being able to engage or disengage remotely without the pressures of face-to-face interactions. However, accessibility, a lack of privacy and the format of online interactions were also cited as some of the challenges of remote forms of contact. Therefore, the advantages and disadvantages of online versus in-person contact were complex and intertwined. This complexity reflects the important point that care-experienced children and young people are not a uniform group. Rather, care-experienced young people need to be seen as individuals and to be afforded a choice about the provision of health and wellbeing interventions that best support their particular needs and requirements. The report offers recommendations in six key areas, research; training; awareness and access; resources; choices and flexibility; safety, and protection and risk. The findings of this report aim to support improvement of both remote and face-to-face services and interventions to support the mental health and wellbeing of care-experienced children and young people as we move beyond the restrictions of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Item Type: Monograph (Project Report)
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement (DECIPHer)
Children’s Social Care Research and Development Centre (CASCADE)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: care leavers, care experienced, Covid-19, Coronavirus, pandemic, mental health, wellbeing, young people
Publisher: The Fostering Network in Wales
Funders: TRIUMPH Network
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 29 March 2022
Last Modified: 30 Mar 2022 10:57
URI: https://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/148568

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