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‘Not about us, without us’: Older children and young people’s experiences of support and services


In recent years there has been growing recognition of the increasing number of older children and young people coming before the family courts, and the complexity and diversity of their experiences. This has raised concerns about the capability of support services in and around the child welfare system to respond to respond to the needs and strengths of older children and young people within a system that has, until recently, focused on protecting younger children from risks within the family home.

Our approach

Nuffield FJO is undertaking a piece of qualitative research using participatory approaches with older children and young people to understand what is working well, what needs to change and what change might look like in these current systems of support. We still do not know enough about older children and young people in these systems; how they feel about the way support is delivered, what support they and their families have received in the past and how these services work together. Importantly, the research is also forward looking: we want to explore how young people feel these systems and services could change to better support others who come to be supported in their teenage years.

The research will present the conversations and insights drawn from a set of workshops and interviews with older children and young people currently engaged with a broad range of support services around England and Wales (including children’s social care, targeted youth support, unaccompanied asylum seeker support, domestic and sexual violence support, youth offending teams). Who better to ask about how this broad system of support is working than the young people who have been directly supported by it? What if we could celebrate what was going well in these systems, and find solutions to what needed attention – from the very people both using services and providing them?

The research themes, our approach to ethical working, workshop designs, and the outputs themselves will be developed by and with our young people’s advisory group, who will work with us as co-researchers throughout the project.

To contact the research team, please email Jordan Rehill

Our Young Persons Advisory Group

  • Michael Clarke
    Young Persons Advisory Group
  • Francis Turkson
    Young Persons Advisory Group
  • Ikesha Tuitt
    Young Persons Advisory Group
  • Chloe Rees
    Young Persons Advisory Group
  • Caitlin Wakeman
    Young Persons Advisory Group

Our ongoing work about young people

This research sits alongside an ongoing body of work from the Nuffield FJO which aims to build a better understanding of the strengths and needs of older children and young people in and around children’s services and the family justice system.