Heady, Nicola

Heady, Nicola
Start date:
October 2018
Research Topic:
Estimating the social care needs of looked after children
Research Supervisor:
Professor Hayley Hutchings
Supervising school:
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

Factors such as safeguarding, social interaction, maintaining healthy relationships and enabling individuals to bridge social networks; are deemed essential components in the definition of a social care need. These fundamental factors underpin and form the foundations that enable and empower individuals to attain a strong socioeconomic position in society and increase social mobility. However, for the LAC; despite being positioned as a high-risk group and embedded within service provision; many continue to experience challenges attaining these fundamental building blocks and often, still face challenges in attaining the appropriate and relevant service provision to meet their needs.
Mental health and developmental disorders, disability, suicide, criminal system involvement, teenage parenthood, substance misuse and educational challenges are suggested to be possible health and social outcomes for these children. Although varying contributing factors have been explored on an individual level; it has been proposed that a more expanded and holistic view is needed to further explore the needs of this population. The study will aim to explore a wide range of factors and social determinants that might possibly provide insight or predict when LAC and those at risk of being care are most ‘at need’. Additionally, whether these factors and social determinants could either strengthen or prohibit the LAC from early identification, intervention and attaining relevant service provision. The study will use a mixed method approach; utilising qualitative and quantitative data to enable the study to attain an enriched data to be collated for analysis.