Children and Families Policy Research Unit


NIHR Children and Families Policy Research Unit


Case Study: Sociology of health and illness

Pathways for young people leaving care: what helps?

health illness

What are the experiences of young people leaving residential or foster care?

For looked-after children, the transition from care can be a daunting time, as they navigate the complexities of adult life. Government guidance is designed to ensure smooth transitions, but there can be a gap between national and local aspirations, and young peoples' own hopes and priorities.

Exploring transitions from care was a recent focus of the sociology of health and illness cross-cutting theme of the CPRU. As Professor Helen Roberts, medical sociology lead explained, this theme "undertakes research into social aspects of children and young people's health to inform policy."

Key Points:

  • This qualitative research explored the priorities for young people leaving foster or residential care seekers and those with disabilities
  • Collaborative work with and between young people and professionals is important for understanding the experiences of care leavers
  • Two groups of care leavers were identified as having a particularly hard time: asylum

Read more:

This case study is from Sociology of health and illness Cross-cutting themes.