“We’re here for these kids, but we’re here for each other as well” : Carers’ perspectives of supporting the needs of Looked-after-Children.

Sulej, Steven and Hodge, Suzanne and Knowles, Sue (2023) “We’re here for these kids, but we’re here for each other as well” : Carers’ perspectives of supporting the needs of Looked-after-Children. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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This thesis consists of two parts focusing on carers of care-experienced young people and their experiences of providing support for this population group both generally and regarding the specific presentation of self-harm. The systematic literature review was a meta-ethnography containing 12 qualitative papers related to carers experiences of providing support alongside professionals to meet the needs of the young person in their care. This review highlighted concerns for carers regarding communicating and understanding information professionals provided, experiences with professionals often left carers feeling inadequate, criticised, or not valued within their role. The review highlights specific perspectives of foster carers regarding developing their practical skills as carers. How carers of care-experienced/looked after young people valued support from their peers for both practical knowledge and emotional support was also identified. The reviews findings indicate further consideration is needed by professionals regarding how to better support carers in a manner meeting their needs while also empowering them within the support process. The empirical paper explored the experiences of residential staff supporting care-experienced young people who self-harm. Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis was used, 9 residential staff took part in semi-structured interviews. Four themes were developed to represent how participants made sense of their experiences “Understanding as a road to preventing”; “The care within the control”; “A bond beyond the role”; “The conflict in the system”, these themes related to staff members feelings around wanting to understand the self-harm as a way to reduce it, how self-harm impacted on the relationships they had with the young person, fellow staff members and the systems around them. The critical appraisal reflects on the researchers own journey through this research. Considering their own role within this research and how their previous experiences may have influenced their reflections and how this project may influence future clinical practice.

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Thesis (PhD)
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Deposited On:
08 Aug 2023 12:45
Last Modified:
28 Feb 2024 00:26