'Fostering a Shared Understanding of Educational Success for Children in Care'
Knowledge Exchange Fellow:
Dr Aoife O'Higgins | Department of Experimental Psychology | University of Oxford
National Association of Fostering Providers
Children in foster care are some of the most vulnerable young people in our society. Research has shown that they have poor educational, health and social-emotional outcomes in childhood and into adulthood. Indeed, people with experience in the care system are more likely to spend time in prison, hospital or psychiatric care, and to be unemployed than any other group in society. Only 6% go to university. While research and policy efforts are ongoing to redress these inequalities, there remains a significant disconnect between these outputs and the lived experiences of care experienced people and those supporting these children. This means that critical expertise is not shared, and practice remains ad-hoc and ineffective.
Working with the National Association of Fostering Providers, this interdisciplinary Knowledge Exchange Fellowship proposes to create a digital network of scholars from the social sciences and humanities as well as stakeholders in the education of children in care. Using research findings, poetry and prose and social media, I will facilitate regular digital book clubs on Twitter as well as face to face book clubs hosted by NAFP. By engaging with a range of media and sharing reflections, the aim is to co-create knowledge on how children in care can be better supported to learn and succeed in their education. The project will be supported by a research assistant who is either care experienced or a foster carer, thus increasing research capacity among stakeholders.
The project reach is intended to be broad and engage policy makers, practitioners and researchers to foster a shared understanding of educational success for children in care. Ultimately, the fellowship aims to impact practice and policy by involving those who are experts by experience and reshaping discourse on the outcomes of children in care.