Improving the health and well-being of young people leaving care
By Bob Broad

What are the health and well-being needs of young people who have been in care and are leaving care? To what extent do wider social exclusion, family background, or individual resilience and risk factors determine their health and well-being? What differences has the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 made about care leavers' health and well-being? What do young people say about how their current health and well-being needs relate to their earlier lives and what kinds of direct work and service provisions are likely to best meet their needs?

Improving the health and well-being of young people leaving care draws on original research findings and policy and practice developments to address these key questions, highlight best practice, and provides service models for improving health and social care.

At the heart of this book are two large leaving care research and practice studies, both conducted by the author. First, the impact of the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 on the health and well-being of care leavers is reviewed via the lens of research data gathered from a national overview study of leaving care work by 52 leaving care teams working with 7000 care leavers in England and Wales. The second research study is a unique two-year young people's health and well-being study highlighting care leavers' own perspectives about their health and well-being needs and service provision.

As well as setting out the legislative, historical and policy framework, the book draws on a wide range of perspectives, including those of care leavers - about the types of health and well-being services they receive and value - practitioners and managers - about how leaving care work can develop within a post-modernisation social inclusion agenda - and, lastly, service provision and analytical frameworks.

Based on a social inclusion framework, this book:
  • analyses the rationale of current and recent leaving care legislation, and the linkages between social exclusion, care leavers, and health and well-being
  • assesses the impact of the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 on the education, employment, training, accommodation and financial circumstances of care leavers, as well as on anti-discriminatory practices and service planning developments (including Pathway Planning)
  • provides accounts of young people's perspectives on their health and well-being and the impact of often damaging life histories on their current well-being; and a case study of young mothers and mothers-to-be
  • outlines the challenges and a policy framework for meeting the mental health needs of care leavers
  • examines health and well-being issues for disabled care leavers
  • based on the research findings, including points made by the young people who participated, makes good practice recommendations for health and social practitioners, including a new comprehensive policy, practice and service framework.

  • The book concludes by making the case both for professionals to respond earlier to young people's accounts, often of damaging abusive episodes in their lives and, at a national level, for a comprehensive system of UK health and well-being indicators for all children and young people, including care leavers, to be introduced as a matter of urgency.

    With its commitment to disseminating applied research findings, practice exemplars and young people's perspectives, the book will appeal strongly to all those involved in social care, health, education, counselling, housing, or training services which impact on young people in and leaving care, or other young people who face social exclusion. Its empirical research and analytical base will also be of special interest to academics and students working in the childhood, social work, child welfare, health, youth studies, youth justice, social exclusion, and applied social policy fields.

    Large format paperback. 160 pages. 978-1-903855-62-1. Published 2005. £22.95.


    Practitioners, managers and policy makers and trainers working in social care, health, education, counselling, and housing settings with care leavers and other young people facing social exclusion.
    Academics, researchers and students: in childhood, child welfare, health, education, social work, youth studies, youth justice, social exclusion, social housing, and applied social policy.


    Dr Bob Broad
    is Professor of Children and Families Research, and Director of the Children and Families Research Unit in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, at De Montfort University, Leicester. Previous books include Young People Leaving Care: Life after the Children Act 1989 (Jessica Kingsley, 1998) and Kinship care: the placement choice for children and young people in need (Ed. 2001, Russell House).

    Dr Panos Vostanis, Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Leicester, and Julie Harris, social care researcher, each contribute an extra chapter.


    Leaving care legislation, social exclusion and health and well-being
    Young people leaving care: policy and legislation
    Social exclusion, health and well-being and young people leaving care
    Implementing the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000
    The leaving care projects and the young people in the national leaving care research study
    Developing education/employment/training, accommodation, health services and financial supports
    Responding to the challenges of anti-discriminatory practice and service planning
    Progress and challenges following the CLC Act 2000: a summary
    Young people's perspectives on their health and well-being
    Introducing the health and well-being research study and the young people's participation
    The young people's family and social circumstances
    The young people's health and well-being
    Case study: Young mothers' and mothers to be
    Reflections and recommendations: lessons from research and practice
    Meeting the mental health needs of young people leaving care: Strategies and challenges Dr Panos Vostanis, University of Leicester
    The health and well-being of disabled care leavers Julie Harris
    Ways forward


    "This is a must-have book. There is qualitative and quantitative evidence, with many heartbreaking stories in the words of the young people themselves… a wealth of material that will motivate any practitioner to become more political as well as passionate in moving forward the social inclusion agenda for looked after young people. Community Practitioner.

    "Invaluable to those with overall responsibility for developing leaving care services or who have an interest in these services." Foster Care.

    "This thought-provoking research will undoubtedly influence future service developments that seek to embrace the needs of this particular group of young people." Young People Now.