When Lack of Data is Data: Do We Really Know who our Looked After Children are?

Jacklin, Angela, Robinson, Carol and Torrance, Harry (2006) When Lack of Data is Data: Do We Really Know who our Looked After Children are? European Journal of Special Needs Education, 21 (1). 1 - 20. ISSN 0885-6257

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Abstract

There are now higher than ever numbers of children in public care in the developed world adn increasing concerns across Europe to examine the differences in policies and practices and their impact on children's lives. The small-scale research reported in this paper was commissioned by an agency in the UK concerned with addressing the challenge of raising the attainment of 'looked-after children', a term used in the UK to refer to children who are in public care. The word 'agency' is used throughout to preserve anonymity and confidentiality for the commissioning body, as well as for the social services departments (who deal with the social work and social care services for chlidren and families), local education authorities, schools and students involved. The aim of the research was to identify a specified cohort of 15-16 year old (Year 11) looked-after children and describe as closely as possible the composition of teh age group and the key features of their cases as regards educational experience and attainment. Data analysed consisted of lists of looked-after children provided by the relevant local authority/authorities. as well as a samnple of school files for 59 of these students. The most important finding to emerge was a lack of data. The findings highlight the challenge that faces professionals in teh field, in identifying and tracking the needs of this particular group of pupils.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Tackles a neglected research area and findings are significant within a European context. Findings provide new understandings in relation to an on-going challenge for inter-agency working with LAC and are being acted upon within the agency which commissioned the research (AJ is currently working with the head of service to develop the provision through action research). The article was largely the work of the first two named authors (AJ and CR). AJ directed the agency-funded project and CR was the research assistant. Both were heavily involved in all aspects of the project. HT was involved in the early stages (negotiating with the agency) and at the projects conclusion. CR led on the writing of the research report for the agency. AJ led on the writing of the article. HT contributed at the final draft stage of the article. The European Journal of Special Needs Education is an internationally referred journal.
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Education
Depositing User: Angela Jacklin
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 20:06
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2012 12:48
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/24065
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