Understanding Children's Lives and Outcomes

Lead Research Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Department Name: Sch of Geosciences

Abstract

Understanding Children's Lives and Outcomes, led by Morag Treanor and Fiona Mitchell, will provide new insights to help better understand and deliver the best possible outcomes for children, utilising existing datasets newly acquired by Scottish Government, in areas including education, health and wellbeing, and the provision of protection and care for children.
There is an extensive range of data about children in Scotland, but it is held across different organisations and is not currently linkable in a way that allows analysis and insights into outcomes and how they vary across society. In addition, our works aims not only to look at children as individuals or in isolation, but situate them within their household and familial context to create a richer understanding of the factors affecting children's lives and to help better address the needs and experiences of children.
Through the research projects, we seek to demonstrate the usefulness of these datasets in order to better understand children's lives and inform policy and practice, and in turn promote the future use and re-use of this data. We aim to learn more about particularly vulnerable cohorts, such as looked after children and, overall, to better understand children and young people's pathways and outcomes, building an evidence base which can help to improve their health, wellbeing and attainment.

The ambitions for people in Scotland are captured in the National Performance Framework, which has a core strand on Children and Young People, and strives for an environment where children grow up loved, safe and protected and can reach their full potential. Our research projects directly respond to the Scottish Attainment Challenge, Permanence and Care Excellence Programme and Independent Care Review 2020 in Scotland, to improve data and outcomes for children in these areas.

We will undertake two projects.
The first will look at educational exclusions and absences. We will examine the variation between schools and between local authorities in their policies and practices in relation to temporary exclusions and absence, and will establish what policies are most effective in reducing exclusions and absences and improving children's outcomes. We will also explore the role of family characteristics and circumstances household living arrangements. This will allow us to explore the extent to which it is policy and practice, and not the demographics of the catchment or the characteristics of the family that make the difference to absences, exclusions and outcomes.

The second project will examine growing up in kinship care. Our ambition is to increase our knowledge of the needs, circumstances and outcomes of children currently living in formal kinship care. We will look at the requirements that universal, and targeted services need to meet in the context of statutory duties focussed on promoting the wellbeing of all children. In the course of undertaking this research we will find out whether this new linked dataset could be used to create thematic reports that could form part of a more in depth annual statistical bulletin produced by government.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description The Infants Born into Care Report, released in Autumn 2020, has raised understanding of very young children and the patterns of care in the first year of life. We have engaged directly with a range of children's practitioners and organisations including Child Protection Scotland, Scottish Government and local authorities to ensure these findings and their implications reach those in policy and practice, and the results have appeared in various media articles helping the public understanding of children-in-care statistics. Our children's engagement work is innovative and leading in its approach. It hopes to provide insights into how to engage children and young people with data. Through our partnership with Children in Scotland, we hope this work and its final report will be provide learnings for other stakeholders and inform best practice, training and help to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
First Year Of Impact 2021
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Government, Democracy and Justice
Impact Types Societal,Policy & public services

 
Description ADR Scotland data event - Looked after children longitudinal dataset 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Held on 29.09.2021, we ran a joint ADR Scotland event with our Scottish Government partners for academics, data users and children's experts to explore this newly improved and available dataset. We have worked significantly to improve and make accessible this dataset and the event showcased what we've done alongside the potential of the data for research with presentations of exemplar projects. The event was well attended and helped to create new contacts and networks, and promoted re-use of this data.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.scadr.ac.uk/news-and-events/event-introduction-looked-after-children-longitudinal-datase...
 
Description ADR UK Researcher Network Symposium - Children & Young People 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact On 22.09.21 Morag and Patricio presented their research project on education and exclusions to a UK-wide audience of admin data researchers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Children's Advisory Group Meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Chaired by Paul Jackson, the advisory group for this programme of on children consists of colleagues across the UK including Government, third sector, practitioners and researchers all with an interest in children and young people, children in care, children's outcomes and policy. This advisory group is run by SCAR and debates issues, cross-UK synergies, innovative approaches to children's data and sharing findings. This session particularly focused on a new approach to children's engagement and a pilot to engage with children directly about our work.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Data Bites, Institute for Government 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact 8.9.21 - Morag Treanor presented on her children's data work.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/events/data-bites-22
 
Description Engaging with children and young people 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact 24/11/21 - Morag Treanor and Robert Porter - This article announced our pilot project in partnership with Children in Scotland on engaging children and young people with data. One of our core research themes is focused on understanding children's lives and outcomes, led by Professor Morag Treanor. In line with the recent incorporation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into Scots Law, and our commitment to The Promise, we are passionate and committed to meaningfully engaging children and young people in our work and learning from their perspectives.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.scadr.ac.uk/news-and-events/news-engaging-children-and-young-people
 
Description Interactive session with children's panel 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact 4/3/22 - Morag Treanor and Robert Porter presented to a group of children from Scotland [as part of the pilot with Children in Scotland] to engage children directly about admin data and our research. By gaining the perspectives of children, we hope to change how we involve and communicate with children and young people around our work.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
 
Description Introduction to Looked After Children Longitudinal Dataset 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact 29/9/21 - This ADR Scotland webinar welcomes current and prospective users to this Scottish dataset, including academic researchers and analysts with an interest in care experienced children, child protection and social work.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.scadr.ac.uk/news-and-events/event-introduction-looked-after-children-longitudinal-datase...
 
Description Met children's policy teams from Scottish Government 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Met a range of key colleagues from Scottish Government's children and families, looked after children and children's health units. They provided helpful context for infants report especially regarding maternity care, encouraged latest data and findings up to the present. They are keen to link to mother's data and children's health data and would like to stay in touch. The dialogue helped us to engage policy with our findings and guide future work, as well as developing relationships for continued collaboration.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Met with UNCRC team in Scottish Government 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact 12.08.2021 - Children's research lead Morag met the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) team to better understand how our children's research programme can support this work now and in future.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Scottish Government Academic Reference Group for Education 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact 26.10.2021 - Morag Treanor attended this strategic expert group in Scottish Government which is also attended by Roger Halliday, Chief Statistician and ADR Scotland Co-Director. Being part of this group enables us to better understand Government priorities on education and where research can best support this.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021