Fitz-Symonds, Samantha

Fitz-Symonds, Samantha
Start date:
October 2020
Research Topic:
Towards agency of opportunity for young people leaving care: A comparison of Welsh, English and Scandinavian models of practice
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Dr Julie Doughty and Dr Hannah Bayfield
Supervising school:
School of Law and Politics,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

Drawing a comparison between social are and welfare provisions in the UK and Scandinavia (focusing on Norway and Sweden), this study will investigate the extent to which legal and policy structures influence access to higher education and secure employment for young people transitioning from state care.

Despite extensive policy and legislative change in the UK, significant barriers remain for care-experienced young people transitioning to adulthood. Concerns have been consistently raised over the varying quality of leaving care services and variation in frameworks across the devolved nations, resulting in a clear disparity in outcomes between care-leavers and their peers in the general population. Although, national coordination of services and a basic level of support for all young people is a staple of the Scandinavian welfare model which places a heavy reliance on a universal strategy benefiting all citizens regardless of care status, recent statistics suggest that this still does not enable equality in accessing opportunities for care leavers. This research project will explore similarities between care leaver outcomes between these nations, despite the operation of vastly different welfare models.

Research Questions:
1. What service provision is available, in theory and practice, in English, Welsh and Scandinavian countries for young people transitioning from state care?
2. To what extent are care-leaver choices constrained or enabled by social structures regulating the leaving care process in English, Welsh and Scandinavian countries?
3. How does care leaver locality impact decisions and access to opportunities, and how does this correlate to access to education and employment?
4. How do care-leaver and practitioner perceptions of the care leaving process differ between English, Welsh and Scandinavian countries?