O’Rourke, Samantha

O'Rourke, Samantha
Start date:
October 2020
Research Topic:
Exploring how law and policy impacts the transitional experiences of care leavers with particular regard to locality and life trajectory
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Dr Julie Doughty and Dr Hannah Bayfield
Supervising school:
School of Law and Politics,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

Despite extensive policy and legislative change, significant barriers remain for care-experienced young people transitioning to adulthood. Concerns have been consistently raised over varying quality of leaving care services and variation in frameworks across devolved nations. This thesis addresses the concern that poor provision in less developed local authority areas is impacting decision-making for young people who appear to decline opportunities outside their local area. This research will investigate whether local authorities are providing sufficient support for care-leavers who wish to traverse local authority lines and participate in opportunities further afield.

This research aims to draw attention to flaws in current policy promoting equality in provision and inform further research in how these barriers can be broken down and promote awareness of support provision available.

Research questions:

  1. Within the broader framework of encouraging care-leavers into higher education, how is government policy failing to achieve its objectives?
  2. How do care leavers’ perceive the transition process and to what extent are their decisions influenced by social structures regulating this process?
  3. To what extent does locality impact decisions and access to opportunities and how does this correlate with later life trajectory?